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Infect Immun. 1986 Nov;54(2):347-53.

Entry of Bartonella bacilliformis into erythrocytes.


Bartonella bacilliformis, which causes the human diseases Oroya fever and verruga peruana, binds to human erythrocytes in vitro and produces substantial and long-lasting deformations in erythrocyte membranes, including cone-shaped depressions, trenches, and deep invaginations. The deforming force is probably provided by the polar flagella of these highly motile bacteria. Deep invaginations containing bacteria are commonly seen, and membrane fusion at the necks of the invaginations leads to the formation of intracellular vacuoles containing bacteria. Fluorescent compounds present externally render the vacuoles fluorescent and, occasionally, lightly fluorescent cells are seen, suggesting that the vacuoles sometimes rupture to admit the bacteria to the cytoplasm. Vacuoles present in fluorescent erythrocytes prepared by preloading the erythrocytes with fluorescent compounds are seen as dark areas from which the fluorescent marker is excluded. Entry of the bacteria appears to be the result of a process of forced endocytosis.

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