Journal Article

Productive <i>Chlamydia trachomatis</i> lymphogranuloma venereum 434 infection in cells with augmented or inactivated autophagic activities

Niseema Pachikara, Haiyan Zhang, Zui Pan, Shengkan Jin and Huizhou Fan

in FEMS Microbiology Letters

Volume 292, issue 2, pages 240-249
Published in print March 2009 |
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1574-6968 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01494.x

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Abstract

Autophagy, a eukaryotic cellular activity leading to the degradation of cellular components, serves as a defense mechanism against facultative intracellular bacteria as well as a growth niche for the obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii. We here demonstrate that the obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis lymphogranuloma venereum strongly induced autophagy in the middle of the chlamydial developmental cycle (24 h after infection), a time point with maximal level of chlamydial replication, but not during the early stages with low overall chlamydial metabolism (before 8 h). No autophagy induction was evident in cells exposed to heat- and UV-inactivated elementary bodies (EBs, the infectious form of Chlamydia) or to inocula from which EBs had been removed before inoculation. Blocking chlamydial development with chloramphenicol also prevented autophagy induction in cells infected with infectious EBs. It appears that autophagy is activated primarily in response to the metabolic stress consequent to chlamydial replication. However, autophagy-defective ATG5−/− cells supported chlamydial development as efficiently as autophagy-proficient ATG5+/+ cells.

Keywords: autophagy; Chlamydia trachomatis; ATG5; LC3

Journal Article.  4454 words.  Illustrated.

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