Chlamydiae in febrile children with respiratory tract symptoms and age-matched controls, Ghana.
ABSTRACT: Members of the Chlamydiales order are obligate intracellular pathogens causing acute and chronic infectious diseases. Chlamydiaceae are established agents of community- and zoonotically acquired respiratory tract infections, and emerging pathogens among the Chlamydia-related bacteria have been implicated in airway infections. The role of both in airway infections in Africa is underexplored. We performed a case -control study on the prevalence of Chlamydiaceae and Chlamydia-related emerging pathogens in children with febrile respiratory tract infections in West Africa, Ghana. Using a pan-Chlamydiales broad-range real-time PCR, we detected chlamydial DNA in 11 (1.9%) of 572 hospitalized febrile children with respiratory tract symptoms and in 24 (4.3%) of 560 asymptomatic age-matched controls (p 0.03). Chlamydiaceae were found to be common among both symptomatic and healthy Ghanaian children, with Chlamydia pneumoniae being the most prevalent species. Parachlamydiaceae were detected in two children without symptoms but not in the symptomatic group. We identified neither Chlamydia psittaci nor Simkania negevensis but a member of a new chlamydial family that shared 90.2% sequence identity with the 16S rRNA gene of the zoonotic pathogen Chlamydia pecorum. In addition, we found a new Chlamydia-related species that belonged to a novel family sharing 91.3% 16S rRNA sequence identity with Candidatus Syngnamydia venezia. The prevalence and spectrum of chlamydial species differed from previous results obtained from children of other geographic regions and our study indicates that both, Chlamydiaceae and Chlamydia-related bacteria, are not clearly linked to clinical symptoms in Ghanaian children.
Project description:Originally composed of the single family Chlamydiaceae, the Chlamydiales order has extended considerably over the last several decades. Chlamydia-related bacteria were added and classified into six different families and family-level lineages: the Criblamydiaceae, Parachlamydiaceae, Piscichlamydiaceae, Rhabdochlamydiaceae, Simkaniaceae, and Waddliaceae. While several members of the Chlamydiaceae family are known pathogens, recent studies showed diverse associations of Chlamydia-related bacteria with human and animal infections. Some of these latter bacteria might be of medical importance since, given their ability to replicate in free-living amoebae, they may also replicate efficiently in other phagocytic cells, including cells of the innate immune system. Thus, a new Chlamydiales-specific real-time PCR targeting the conserved 16S rRNA gene was developed. This new molecular tool can detect at least five DNA copies and show very high specificity without cross-amplification from other bacterial clade DNA. The new PCR was validated with 128 clinical samples positive or negative for Chlamydia trachomatis or C. pneumoniae. Of 65 positive samples, 61 (93.8%) were found to be positive with the new PCR. The four discordant samples, retested with the original test, were determined to be negative or below detection limits. Then, the new PCR was applied to 422 nasopharyngeal swabs taken from children with or without pneumonia; a total of 48 (11.4%) samples were determined to be positive, and 45 of these were successfully sequenced. The majority of the sequences corresponded to Chlamydia-related bacteria and especially to members of the Parachlamydiaceae family.
Project description:The order Chlamydiales are biphasic intracellular bacterial pathogens infecting humans and domesticated animals. Wildlife infections have also been reported, with the most studied example being Chlamydia pecorum infections in the koala, an iconic Australian marsupial. In koalas, molecular evidence suggests that spill-over from C. pecorum infected livestock imported into Australia may have had a historical or contemporary role. Despite preliminary evidence that other native Australian marsupials also carry C. pecorum, their potential as reservoirs of this pathogen and other Chlamydia-related bacteria (CRBs) has been understudied. Mucosal epithelial samples collected from over 200 native Australian marsupials of different species and geographic regions across Australia were PCR screened for Chlamydiales. Previously described and genetically distinct C. pecorum genotypes and a range of 16S rRNA genotypes sharing similarity to different CRBs in the broader Chlamydiales order were present. One 16S rRNA Chlamydiales genotype recently described in Australian ticks that parasitise native Australian marsupials was also identified. This study provides further evidence that chlamydial infections are widespread in native fauna and that detailed investigations are required to understand the influence these infections have on host species conservation, but also whether infection spill-over plays a role in their epidemiology.
Project description:Epitheliocystis in leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques), silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus), and barramundi (Lates calcarifer), previously associated with chlamydial bacterial infection using ultrastructural analysis, was further investigated by using molecular and immunocytochemical methods. Morphologically, all three species showed epitheliocystis cysts in the gills, and barramundi also showed lymphocystis cysts in the skin. From gill cysts of all three species and from skin cysts of barramundi 16S rRNA gene fragments were amplified by PCR and sequenced, which clustered by phylogenetic analysis together with other chlamydia-like organisms in the order Chlamydiales in a lineage separate from the family Chlamydiaceae. By using in situ RNA hybridization, 16S rRNA Chlamydiales-specific sequences were detected in gill cysts of silver perch and in gill and skin cysts of barramundi. By applying immunocytochemistry, chlamydial antigens (lipopolysaccharide and/or membrane protein) were detected in gill cysts of leafy seadragon and in gill and skin cysts of barramundi, but not in gill cysts of silver perch. In conclusion, this is the first time epitheliocystis agents of leafy seadragon, silver perch and barramundi have been undoubtedly identified as belonging to bacteria of the order Chlamydiales by molecular methods. In addition, the results suggested that lymphocystis cysts, known to be caused by iridovirus infection, could be coinfected with the epitheliocystis agent.
Project description:Members of the order Chlamydiales are known for their potential as human and veterinary bacterial pathogens. Despite this recognition, epidemiological factors such as routes of transmission are yet to be fully defined. Ticks are well known vectors for many other infections with several reports recently describing the presence of bacteria in the order Chlamydiales in these arthropods. Australian wildlife are hosts to an extensive range of tick species. Evidence is also growing that the marsupial hosts these ticks parasitise can also be infected by a number of bacteria in the order Chlamydiales, with at least one species, Chlamydia pecorum, posing a significant conservation threat. In the current study, we investigated the presence and identity of Chlamydiales in 438 ixodid ticks parasitizing wildlife in Australia by screening with a pan-Chlamydiales specific targeting the 16S rRNA gene.Pan-Chlamydiales specific PCR assays confirmed the common presence of Chlamydiales in Australian ticks parasitising a range of native wildlife. Interestingly, we did not detect any Chlamydiaceae, including C. pecorum, the ubiquitous pathogen of the koala. Instead, the Chlamydiales diversity that could be resolved indicated that Australian ticks carry at least six novel Chlamydiales genotypes. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA sequences (663 bp) of these novel Chlamydiales suggests that three of these genotypes are associated with the Simkaniaceae and putatively belong to three distinct novel strains of Fritschea spp. and three genotypes are related to the "Ca. Rhabdochlamydiaceae" and putatively belong to a novel genus, Rhabdochlamydia species and strain, respectively.Sequence results suggest Australian wildlife ticks harbour a range of unique Chlamydiales bacteria that belong to families previously identified in a range of arthropod species. The results of this work also suggest that it is unlikely that arthropods act as vectors of pathogenic members of the family Chlamydiaceae, including C. pecorum, in Australian wildlife. The biology of novel Chlamydiales identified in arthropods remain unknown. The pathogenic role of the novel Chlamydiales identified in this study and the role that ticks may play in their transmission needs to be explored further.
Project description:Chlamydiaceae are Gram-negative obligate intracellular bacteria. They are responsible for a broad range of diseases in animals and humans. In pigs, Chlamydia suis, Chlamydia abortus, Chlamydia pecorum and Chlamydia psittaci have been isolated. Chlamydiaceae infections in pigs are associated with different pathologies such as conjunctivitis, pneumonia, pericarditis, polyarthritis, polyserositis, pseudo-membranous or necrotizing enteritis, periparturient dysgalactiae syndrome, vaginal discharge, return to oestrus, abortion, mummification, delivery of weak piglets, increased perinatal and neonatal mortality and inferior semen quality, orchitis, epididymitis and urethritis in boars. However, Chlamydiaceae are still considered as non-important pathogens because reports of porcine chlamydiosis are rare. Furthermore, Chlamydiaceae infections are often unnoticed because tests for Chlamydiaceae are not routinely performed in all veterinary diagnostic laboratories and Chlamydiaceae are often found in association with other pathogens, which are sometimes more easily to detect. However, recent studies have demonstrated that Chlamydiaceae infections in breeding sows, boars and piglets occur more often than thought and are economically important. This paper presents an overview on: the taxonomy of Chlamydiaceae occurring in pigs, diagnostic considerations, epidemiology and pathology of infections with Chlamydiaceae in pigs, public health significance and finally on prevention and treatment of Chlamydiaceae infections in pigs.
Project description:Chlamydial infections in pigs are associated with respiratory disease, diarrhea, conjunctivitis and other pathologies. The aim of this study was to define the prevalence of Chlamydiaceae in Swiss fattening pigs by applying sensitive and specific detection methods and to correlate prior antibiotic treatment and farm related factors with differences in prevalence. Conjunctival and fecal swabs were collected from 636 pigs in 29 Swiss fattening pig farms with and without antibiotic treatment, at the beginning and the end of the fattening period. The swabs were screened by real-time PCR for Chlamydiaceae. For the chlamydial detection and species-identification, a DNA-microarray analysis was performed. All farms were positive for Chlamydiaceae with 94.3 and 92.0% prevalence in fecal swabs as well as 45.9 and 32.6% in conjunctival swabs at the first and second time points, respectively. Antibiotic treatment could not clear the infection on herd level. Potential contact with wild boars was a significant risk factor, while hygiene criteria did not influence chlamydial prevalence. A correlation of chlamydial positivity to diarrhea, but not to conjunctivitis was evident. Chlamydia suis was the predominant species. Mixed infections with C. suis and C. pecorum were common, with a substantial increase in C. pecorum positivity at the end of the fattening period, and this finding was associated with ruminant contact. C. abortus was detected in one conjunctival swab. In this study, C. suis inhabited the intestinal tract of nearly all examined pigs, implying a long-term infection. C. pecorum was also common and might be transmitted to pigs by ruminants.
Project description:Catalase is an important virulence factor for survival in macrophages and other phagocytic cells. In Chlamydiaceae, no catalase had been described so far. With the sequencing and annotation of the full genomes of Chlamydia-related bacteria, the presence of different catalase-encoding genes has been documented. However, their distribution in the Chlamydiales order and the functionality of these catalases remain unknown. Phylogeny of chlamydial catalases was inferred using MrBayes, maximum likelihood, and maximum parsimony algorithms, allowing the description of three clade 3 and two clade 2 catalases. Only monofunctional catalases were found (no catalase-peroxidase or Mn-catalase). All presented a conserved catalytic domain and tertiary structure. Enzymatic activity of cloned chlamydial catalases was assessed by measuring hydrogen peroxide degradation. The catalases are enzymatically active with different efficiencies. The catalase of Parachlamydia acanthamoebae is the least efficient of all (its catalytic activity was 2 logs lower than that of Pseudomonas aeruginosa). Based on the phylogenetic analysis, we hypothesize that an ancestral class 2 catalase probably was present in the common ancestor of all current Chlamydiales but was retained only in Criblamydia sequanensis and Neochlamydia hartmannellae. The catalases of class 3, present in Estrella lausannensis and Parachlamydia acanthamoebae, probably were acquired by lateral gene transfer from Rhizobiales, whereas for Waddlia chondrophila they likely originated from Legionellales or Actinomycetales. The acquisition of catalases on several occasions in the Chlamydiales suggests the importance of this enzyme for the bacteria in their host environment.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>Serological case-control studies suggest that certain chlamydia-related bacteria (Chlamydiales) which cause cows to abort may do the same in humans. Chlamydiales include Waddlia chondrophila, Chlamydia abortus and Chlamydia trachomatis. Data on prevalence of Chlamydiales in pregnancy are sparse. Using stored urine samples from a carefully characterised cohort of 847 newly pregnant women recruited from 37 general practices in London, UK, we aimed to investigate the prevalence and types of Chlamydiales infections. We also explored possible associations with miscarriage or spontaneous preterm birth.<h4>Methods</h4>Samples were tested using W. chondrophila and pan-Chlamydiales specific real-time PCRs targeting the 16S rRNA gene. Samples positive on either PCR were subjected to DNA sequencing and C. trachomatis PCR.<h4>Results</h4>The overall prevalence of Chlamydiales was 4.3% (36/847, 95% CI 3.0% to 5.8%). The prevalence of W. chondrophila was 0.6% (n = 5), C. trachomatis 1.7% (n = 14), and other Chlamydiales species 2.0% (n = 17). Infection with C. trachomatis was more common in women aged <25, of black ethnicity or with bacterial vaginosis, but this did not apply to W. chondrophila or other Chlamydiales. Follow up was 99.9% at 16 weeks gestation and 90% at term. No infection was significantly associated with miscarriage at ?12 weeks (prevalence 10%, 81/827) or preterm birth <37 weeks (prevalence 4%, 23/628). Of 25 samples sequenced, seven (28%) were positive for Chlamydiales bacterium sequences associated with respiratory tract infections in children.<h4>Conclusion</h4>In the first study to use the pan-Chlamydiales assay on female urine samples, 4% of pregnant women tested positive for Chlamydiales, including species known to be pathogenic in mothers and neonates.
Project description:Chlamydiaceae are obligate intracellular bacteria that cause a diversity of severe infections among humans and livestock on a global scale. Identification of new species since 1989 and emergence of zoonotic infections, including abortion in women, underscore the need for genome sequencing of multiple strains of each species to advance our knowledge of evolutionary dynamics across Chlamydiaceae. Here, we genome sequenced isolates from avian, lower mammalian and human hosts. Based on core gene phylogeny, five isolates previously classified as Chlamydia abortus were identified as members of Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia pecorum. Chlamydia abortus is the most recently emerged species and is a highly monomorphic group that lacks the conserved virulence-associated plasmid. Low-level recombination and evidence for adaptation to the placenta echo evolutionary processes seen in recently emerged, highly virulent niche-restricted pathogens, such as Bacillus anthracis. In contrast, gene flow occurred within C. psittaci and other Chlamydiaceae species. The C. psittaci strain RTH, isolated from a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), is an outlying strain with admixture of C. abortus, C. psittaci, and its own population markers. An average nucleotide identity of less than 94% compared with other Chlamydiaceae species suggests that RTH belongs to a new species intermediary between C. psittaci and C. abortus. Hawks, as scavengers and predators, have extensive opportunities to acquire multiple species in their intestinal tract. This could facilitate transformation and homologous recombination with the potential for new species emergence. Our findings indicate that incubator hosts such as birds-of-prey likely promote Chlamydiaceae evolution resulting in novel pathogenic lineages.
Project description:The genome of Chlamydophila caviae (formerly Chlamydia psittaci, GPIC isolate) (1 173 390 nt with a plasmid of 7966 nt) was determined, representing the fourth species with a complete genome sequence from the Chlamydiaceae family of obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens. Of 1009 annotated genes, 798 were conserved in all three other completed Chlamydiaceae genomes. The C.caviae genome contains 68 genes that lack orthologs in any other completed chlamydial genomes, including tryptophan and thiamine biosynthesis determinants and a ribose-phosphate pyrophosphokinase, the product of the prsA gene. Notable amongst these was a novel member of the virulence-associated invasin/intimin family (IIF) of Gram-negative bacteria. Intriguingly, two authentic frameshift mutations in the ORF indicate that this gene is not functional. Many of the unique genes are found in the replication termination region (RTR or plasticity zone), an area of frequent symmetrical inversion events around the replication terminus shown to be a hotspot for genome variation in previous genome sequencing studies. In C.caviae, the RTR includes several loci of particular interest including a large toxin gene and evidence of ancestral insertion(s) of a bacteriophage. This toxin gene, not present in Chlamydia pneumoniae, is a member of the YopT effector family of type III-secreted cysteine proteases. One gene cluster (guaBA-add) in the RTR is much more similar to orthologs in Chlamydia muridarum than those in the phylogenetically closest species C.pneumoniae, suggesting the possibility of horizontal transfer of genes between the rodent-associated Chlamydiae. With most genes observed in the other chlamydial genomes represented, C.caviae provides a good model for the Chlamydiaceae and a point of comparison against the human atherosclerosis-associated C.pneumoniae. This crucial addition to the set of completed Chlamydiaceae genome sequences is enabling dissection of the roles played by niche-specific genes in these important bacterial pathogens.