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Environ Microbiol. 2014 Feb;16(2):417-29. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12299. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Architecture and host interface of environmental chlamydiae revealed by electron cryotomography.

Author information

1
Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA.

Abstract

Chlamydiae comprise important pathogenic and symbiotic bacteria that alternate between morphologically and physiologically different life stages during their developmental cycle. Using electron cryotomography, we characterize the ultrastructure of the developmental stages of three environmental chlamydiae: Parachlamydia acanthamoebae, Protochlamydia amoebophila and Simkania negevensis. We show that chemical fixation and dehydration alter the cell shape of Parachlamydia and that the crescent body is not a developmental stage, but an artefact of conventional electron microscopy. We further reveal type III secretion systems of environmental chlamydiae at macromolecular resolution and find support for a chlamydial needle-tip protein. Imaging bacteria inside their host cells by cryotomography for the first time, we observe marked differences in inclusion morphology and development as well as host organelle recruitment between the three chlamydial organisms, with Simkania inclusions being tightly enveloped by the host endoplasmic reticulum. The study demonstrates the power of electron cryotomography to reveal structural details of bacteria-host interactions that are not accessible using traditional methods.

PMID:
24118768
PMCID:
PMC4949044
DOI:
10.1111/1462-2920.12299
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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