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Infect Immun. 1990 Oct;58(10):3194-201.

Developmental cycle-specific host-free RNA synthesis in Chlamydia spp.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163.


The incorporation of radiolabeled GTP into RNA in host-free Chlamydia trachomatis serovar L2 organisms was investigated. The incorporation was partially inhibited by rifampin and dactinomycin and hydrolyzed by RNase. RNA made by host-free chlamydiae consisted mainly of species of fewer than 800 bases in size, although 16S and 23S species were noted by agarose-gel electrophoresis. The hybridization of radiolabeled host-free RNA to restriction fragments of the gene encoding the major outer membrane protein was analyzed; all regions of the gene were transcribed. The relative intensity of hybridization of host-free RNA made by chlamydiae isolated during the middle and late stages of the developmental cycle to the DNA of clones encoding gene products known to be made at these times in vivo indicated that the temporal patterns of host-free and in vivo transcription were similar. Radiolabeled RNA from 1- and 24-h host-free Chlamydia psittaci 6BC organisms hybridized to many of the same EcoRI and BamHI restriction fragments of C. psittaci genomic DNA, although some differences could be noted. When these RNAs were used to screen a partial C. psittaci genomic library in lambda gt11, plaques were identified that reacted mainly either with 1-h RNA or with 24-h RNA. Because RNA synthesized by host-free chlamydiae appears to be developmental cycle stage specific, transcripts made by host-free chlamydiae may be convenient probes that can be used to clone developmental stage-specific chlamydial genes.

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