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Pathog Dis. 2014 Feb;70(1):61-9. doi: 10.1111/2049-632X.12086. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

Plasmid deficiency in urogenital isolates of Chlamydia trachomatis reduces infectivity and virulence in a mouse model.

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Microbiology and Immunology Department, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL, USA.


We hypothesized that the plasmid of urogenital isolates of Chlamydia trachomatis would modulate infectivity and virulence in a mouse model. To test this hypothesis, we infected female mice in the respiratory or urogenital tract with graded doses of a human urogenital isolate of C. trachomatis, serovar F, possessing the cognate plasmid. For comparison, we inoculated mice with a plasmid-free serovar F isolate. Following urogenital inoculation, the plasmid-free isolate displayed significantly reduced infectivity compared with the wild-type strain with the latter yielding a 17-fold lower infectious dose to yield 50% infection. When inoculated via the respiratory tract, the plasmid-free isolate exhibited reduced infectivity and virulence (as measured by weight change) when compared to the wild-type isolate. Further, differences in infectivity, but not in virulence were observed in a C. trachomatis, serovar E isolate with a deletion within the plasmid coding sequence 1 when compared to a serovar E isolate with no mutations in the plasmid. We conclude that plasmid loss reduces virulence and infectivity in this mouse model. These findings further support a role for the chlamydial plasmid in infectivity and virulence in vivo.


Chlamydia; genome; infection; mouse; plasmid; virulence

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