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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1993 Jan 15;106(2):193-200.

Low-nutrient induction of abnormal chlamydial development: a novel component of chlamydial pathogenesis?

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Microbial Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK.


The intracellular development of chlamydiae in McCoy cells incubated in Eagle's minimal essential medium lacking all 13 amino acids was examined both by fluorescence and electron microscopy and by infectivity titration. Aberrant development occurred in almost all inclusions of strains of Chlamydia trachomatis and C. psittaci with the production of abnormal forms which differed in size, shape and internal structure from normal reticulate and elementary body forms. Detailed analysis of the response of C. trachomatis L2 strain 434 to graded reductions in amino acid level showed that infectivity was reduced and morphological abnormality increased as amino acid concentrations were lowered from 33 to 0% of amino acids present in minimal essential medium. Reversion of inclusions to normal and reappearance of infectious forms occurred on restoration of amino acids and further incubation. It is suggested that aberrant development may account for the presence in vivo of non-cultivable chlamydiae and that such development can arise via tryptophan deprivation mediated by local release of interferon gamma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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