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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2013 Aug;11(8):561-73. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3049. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Molecular pathogenesis of the obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii.

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Department of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Bryan, Texas 77807-3260, USA.


The agent of Q fever, Coxiella burnetii, is an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes acute and chronic infections. The study of C. burnetii pathogenesis has benefited from two recent fundamental advances: improved genetic tools and the ability to grow the bacterium in extracellular media. In this Review, we describe how these recent advances have improved our understanding of C. burnetii invasion and host cell modulation, including the formation of replication-permissive Coxiella-containing vacuoles. Furthermore, we describe the Dot/Icm (defect in organelle trafficking/intracellular multiplication) system, which is used by C. burnetii to secrete a range of effector proteins into the host cell, and we discuss the role of these effectors in remodelling the host cell.

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