Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists resolve decades-old mystery of ‘chlamydial anomaly’

Date:
December 11, 2013
Source:
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU)
Summary:
A 50-year-old mystery surrounding the existence of a cell wall in the bacterial pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis, or chlamydia, has been solved. Chlamydia is the leading cause of sexually transmitted infections worldwide, infecting nearly 1.5 million Americans each year. It can cause sterility and other complications, and is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Other types of chlamydia cause a variety of diseases in humans and animals, including two strains of the bacterium that are threatening survival of the koala population in Australia.

A 50-year-old mystery surrounding the existence of a cell wall in the bacterial pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis, or chlamydia, has been solved by researchers at the F. Edward Hιbert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). Chlamydia is the leading cause of sexually transmitted infections worldwide, infecting nearly 1.5 million Americans each year. It can cause sterility in men and women, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and ectopic pregnancy and is also the leading cause of preventable blindness. Other types of chlamydia cause a variety of diseases in humans and animals, including two strains of the bacterium that are threatening survival of the koala population in Australia.

Since the 1960s, scientists have tried to solve the 'chlamydial anomaly.' All chlamydial species are sensitive to antibiotics that target the bacterial cell wall, or peptidoglycan, but no one has ever been able to show that peptidoglycan exists in chlamydia until now.

In an article, "A new metabolic cell-wall labeling method reveals peptidoglycan in Chlamydia trachomatis," published in the Dec. 11 advance online issue of Nature, study lead co-author Dr. George Liechti, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Maurelli at USU, along with a scientific team from Maurelli's lab and collaborators from Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington, Ind., outlines their discovery of the presence of a peptidoglycan in chlamydia.

Using novel chemical probes designed by researchers in the laboratories of IU scientists Drs. Yves Burn and Michael Van Nieuwenhze, Liechti was able to visualize the cell wall of chlamydia for the first time since these paradoxical observations were initially described 50 years ago. Maurelli's team, working closely with the IU researchers, produced images that revealed a cell wall architecture never before seen in bacteria: a ring-like structure that appears to cut across each growing microbe at its center line.

Additional experiments carried out by Liechti and IU researcher Erkin Kuru confirmed that the label is specific for the bacterial cell wall and suggests that chlamydia generates its unique cell wall the same way as many other microbes, such as E. coli, do.

The demonstration by Maurelli's team that chlamydia possess peptidoglycan will help other researchers study how infection with these organisms produces an inflammatory response in its human host.

In addition, peptidoglycan almost certainly plays a role in chlamydial cell division, says Liechti. "We know almost nothing about how chlamydia divide," he said, "but the unusual labeling pattern of the peptidoglycan that we observed suggests some very testable models that we plan to pursue in our lab."

In addition to solving a decades-old mystery, this study suggests new and powerful applications of this innovative labeling technique developed by Maurelli's IU collaborators. This breakthrough in labeling technology has the potential to revolutionize the study of the microbial cell wall with potential applications in visualization of the cell wall by electron microscopy and the eventual capture and purification of peptidoglycan components.

"I am thrilled that we were able to resolve the chlamydial anomaly," said Maurelli. "Now that we have shown that chlamydia have a typical bacterial cell wall, scientists can focus on key questions such as how the peptidoglycan of chlamydia contributes to the severe inflammation that is typically seen in chlamydia infections of the eye and the genital tract. We can also get a better understanding of how certain antibiotics work against these organisms." The discovery could eventually lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches for treatment of chlamydial infection.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. W. Liechti, E. Kuru, E. Hall, A. Kalinda, Y. V. Brun, M. VanNieuwenhze, A. T. Maurelli. A new metabolic cell-wall labelling method reveals peptidoglycan in Chlamydia trachomatis. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12892

Cite This Page:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). "Scientists resolve decades-old mystery of ‘chlamydial anomaly’." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211133945.htm>.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). (2013, December 11). Scientists resolve decades-old mystery of ‘chlamydial anomaly’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211133945.htm
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). "Scientists resolve decades-old mystery of ‘chlamydial anomaly’." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211133945.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins