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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Aug;25(3):441-9.

Chlamydia trachomatis utilizes the host cell microtubule network during early events of infection.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Aarhus, Aarhus C, Denmark.


The host cell cytoskeleton is known to play a vital role in the life cycles of several pathogenic intracellular microorganisms by providing the basis for a successful invasion and by promoting movement of the pathogen once inside the host cell cytoplasm. McCoy cells infected with Chlamydia trachomatis serovars E or L2 revealed, by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy, collocation of microtubules and Chlamydia-containing vesicles during the process of migration from the host cell surface to a perinuclear location. The vast majority of microtubule-associated Chlamydia vesicles also collocated with tyrosine-phosphorylated McCoy cell proteins. After migration, the Chlamydia-containing vesicles were positioned exactly at the centre of the microtubule network, indicating a microtubule-dependent mode of chlamydial redistribution. Inhibition of host cell dynein, a microtubule-dependent motor protein known to be involved in directed vesicle transport along microtubules, was observed to have a pronounced effect on C. trachomatis infectivity. Furthermore, dynein was found to collocate with perinuclear aggregates of C. trachomatis E and L2 but not C. pneumoniae VR-1310, indicating a marked difference in the cytoskeletal requirements for C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae during early infection events. In support of this view, C. pneumoniae VR-1310 was shown to induce much less tyrosine phosphorylation of HeLa cell proteins during uptake than that seen for C. trachomatis.

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