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PLoS One. 2010 Dec 21;5(12):e15321. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015321.

Coxiella burnetii transcriptional analysis reveals serendipity clusters of regulation in intracellular bacteria.

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1
Unité de Recherche en Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, Faculté de Médecine, CNRS-IRD, UMR 6236, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.

Abstract

Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of the zoonotic disease Q fever, is mainly transmitted to humans through an aerosol route. A spore-like form allows C. burnetii to resist different environmental conditions. Because of this, analysis of the survival strategies used by this bacterium to adapt to new environmental conditions is critical for our understanding of C. burnetii pathogenicity. Here, we report the early transcriptional response of C. burnetii under temperature stresses. Our data show that C. burnetii exhibited minor changes in gene regulation under short exposure to heat or cold shock. While small differences were observed, C. burnetii seemed to respond similarly to cold and heat shock. The expression profiles obtained using microarrays produced in-house were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. Under temperature stresses, 190 genes were differentially expressed in at least one condition, with a fold change of up to 4. Globally, the differentially expressed genes in C. burnetii were associated with bacterial division, (p)ppGpp synthesis, wall and membrane biogenesis and, especially, lipopolysaccharide and peptidoglycan synthesis. These findings could be associated with growth arrest and witnessed transformation of the bacteria to a spore-like form. Unexpectedly, clusters of neighboring genes were differentially expressed. These clusters do not belong to operons or genetic networks; they have no evident associated functions and are not under the control of the same promoters. We also found undescribed but comparable clusters of regulation in previously reported transcriptomic analyses of intracellular bacteria, including Rickettsia sp. and Listeria monocytogenes. The transcriptomic patterns of C. burnetii observed under temperature stresses permits the recognition of unpredicted clusters of regulation for which the trigger mechanism remains unidentified but which may be the result of a new mechanism of epigenetic regulation.

PMID:
21203564
PMCID:
PMC3006202
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0015321
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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