A Chlamydia trachomatis strain with a chemically generated amino acid substitution (P370L) in the cthtrA gene shows reduced elementary body production Microbial genetics, genomics and proteomics

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMC Microbiology, 2015, 15 (1)
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© 2015 Marsh et al. Background: Chlamydia (C.) trachomatis is the most prevalent bacterial sexually transmitted infection worldwide and the leading cause of preventable blindness. Genetic approaches to investigate C. trachomatis have been only recently developed due to the organism's intracellular developmental cycle. HtrA is a critical stress response serine protease and chaperone for many bacteria and in C. trachomatis has been previously shown to be important for heat stress and the replicative phase of development using a chemical inhibitor of the CtHtrA activity. In this study, chemically-induced SNVs in the cthtrA gene that resulted in amino acid substitutions (A240V, G475E, and P370L) were identified and characterized. Methods: SNVs were initially biochemically characterized in vitro using recombinant protein techniques to confirm a functional impact on proteolysis. The C. trachomatis strains containing the SNVs with marked reductions in proteolysis were investigated in cell culture to identify phenotypes that could be linked to CtHtrA function. Results: The strain harboring the SNV with the most marked impact on proteolysis (cthtrA P370L) was detected to have a significant reduction in the production of infectious elementary bodies. Conclusions: This provides genetic evidence that CtHtrA is critical for the C. trachomatis developmental cycle.
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