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Infect Genet Evol. 2014 Apr;23:49-64. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2014.01.029. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

Evolution, phylogeny, and molecular epidemiology of Chlamydia.

Author information

1
Reference Laboratory of Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infections and Bioinformatics Unit, Department of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health, Av. Padre Cruz, 1649-016 Lisbon, Portugal.
2
Reference Laboratory of Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infections and Bioinformatics Unit, Department of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health, Av. Padre Cruz, 1649-016 Lisbon, Portugal. Electronic address: j.paulo.gomes@insa.min-saude.pt.

Abstract

The Chlamydiaceae are a family of obligate intracellular bacteria characterized by a unique biphasic developmental cycle. It encompasses the single genus Chlamydia, which involves nine species that affect a wide range of vertebral hosts, causing infections with serious impact on human health (mainly due to Chlamydia trachomatis infections) and on farming and veterinary industries. It is believed that Chlamydiales originated ∼700mya, whereas C. trachomatis likely split from the other Chlamydiaceae during the last 6mya. This corresponds to the emergence of modern human lineages, with the first descriptions of chlamydial infections as ancient as four millennia. Chlamydiaceae have undergone a massive genome reduction, on behalf of the deletional bias "use it or lose it", stabilizing at 1-1.2Mb and keeping a striking genome synteny. Their phylogeny reveals species segregation according to biological properties, with huge differences in terms of host range, tissue tropism, and disease outcomes. Genome differences rely on the occurrence of mutations in the >700 orthologous genes, as well as on events of recombination, gene loss, inversion, and paralogous expansion, affecting both a hypervariable region named the plasticity zone, and genes essentially encoding polymorphic and transmembrane head membrane proteins, type III secretion effectors and some metabolic pathways. Procedures for molecular typing are still not consensual but have allowed the knowledge of molecular epidemiology patterns for some species as well as the identification of outbreaks and emergence of successful clones for C. trachomatis. This manuscript intends to provide a comprehensive review on the evolution, phylogeny, and molecular epidemiology of Chlamydia.

KEYWORDS:

Chlamydia; Evolution; Molecular epidemiology; Phylogeny; Taxonomy

PMID:
24509351
DOI:
10.1016/j.meegid.2014.01.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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