Project description:Chlamydia trachomatis infection is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Repeated infections with C. trachomatis lead to serious sequelae, such as infertility. It is unclear why the adaptive immune system, specifically the CD8(+) T cell response, is unable to protect against subsequent C. trachomatis infections. In this article, we characterize the mucosal CD8(+) T cell response to C. trachomatis in the murine genital tract. We demonstrate that the immunoinhibitory ligand, PD-L1, contributes to the defective CD8(+) T cell response. Deletion or inhibition of PD-L1 restores the CD8(+) T cell response and enhances C. trachomatis clearance.
Project description:The high frequency of between-strain genetic recombinants of Chlamydia trachomatis among isolates obtained from human sexually transmitted infections suggests that lateral gene transfer (LGT) is an important means by which C. trachomatis generates variants that have enhanced relative fitness. A mechanism for LGT in C. trachomatis has not been described, and investigation of this phenomenon by experimentation has been hampered by the obligate intracellular development of this pathogen. We describe here experiments that readily detected LGT between strains of C. trachomatis in vitro. Host cells were simultaneously infected with an ofloxacin-resistant (Ofx(r)) mutant of a serovar L1 strain (L1:Ofx(r)-1) and a rifampin-resistant (Rif(r)) mutant of a serovar D strain (D:Rif(r)-1). Development occurred in the absence of antibiotics, and the progeny were subjected to selection for Ofx(r) Rif(r) recombinants. The parental strains differed at many polymorphic nucleotide sites, and DNA sequencing was used to map genetic crossovers and to determine the parental sources of DNA segments in 14 recombinants. Depending on the assumed DNA donor, the estimated minimal length of the transferred DNA was > or = 123 kb in one recombinant but was > or = 336 to > or = 790 kb in all other recombinants. Such trans-DNA lengths have been associated only with conjugation in known microbial LGT systems, but natural DNA transformation remains a conceivable mechanism. LGT studies can now be performed with diverse combinations of C. trachomatis strains, and they could have evolutionary interest and yield useful recombinants for functional analysis of allelic differences between strains.
Project description:Chlamydia trachomatis is a pathogen of worldwide importance, causing more than 100 million cases of sexually transmitted infections annually. Whole-genome sequencing is a powerful high resolution tool that can be used to generate accurate data on bacterial population structure, phylogeography and mutations associated with antimicrobial resistance. The objective of this study was to perform whole-genome enrichment and sequencing of C. trachomatis directly from clinical samples.C. trachomatis positive samples comprising seven vaginal swabs and three urine samples were sequenced without prior in vitro culture in addition to nine cultured C. trachomatis samples, representing different serovars. A custom capture RNA bait set, that captures all known diversity amongst C. trachomatis genomes, was used in a whole-genome enrichment step during library preparation to enrich for C. trachomatis DNA. All samples were sequenced on the MiSeq platform.Full length C. trachomatis genomes (>95-100% coverage of a reference genome) were successfully generated for eight of ten clinical samples and for all cultured samples. The proportion of reads mapping to C. trachomatis and the mean read depth across each genome were strongly linked to the number of bacterial copies within the original sample. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed the known population structure and the data showed potential for identification of minority variants and mutations associated with antimicrobial resistance. The sensitivity of the method was >10-fold higher than other reported methodologies.The combination of whole-genome enrichment and deep sequencing has proven to be a non-mutagenic approach, capturing all known variation found within C. trachomatis genomes. The method is a consistent and sensitive tool that enables rapid whole-genome sequencing of C. trachomatis directly from clinical samples and has the potential to be adapted to other pathogens with a similar clonal nature.
Project description:The use of whole-genome sequencing as a tool for the study of infectious bacteria is of growing clinical interest. Chlamydia trachomatis is responsible for sexually transmitted infections and the blinding disease trachoma, which affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Recombination is widespread within the genome of C. trachomatis, thus whole-genome sequencing is necessary to understand the evolution, diversity, and epidemiology of this pathogen. Culture of C. trachomatis has, until now, been a prerequisite to obtain DNA for whole-genome sequencing; however, as C. trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogen, this procedure is technically demanding and time consuming. Discarded clinical samples represent a large resource for sequencing the genomes of pathogens, yet clinical swabs frequently contain very low levels of C. trachomatis DNA and large amounts of contaminating microbial and human DNA. To determine whether it is possible to obtain whole-genome sequences from bacteria without the need for culture, we have devised an approach that combines immunomagnetic separation (IMS) for targeted bacterial enrichment with multiple displacement amplification (MDA) for whole-genome amplification. Using IMS-MDA in conjunction with high-throughput multiplexed Illumina sequencing, we have produced the first whole bacterial genome sequences direct from clinical samples. We also show that this method can be used to generate genome data from nonviable archived samples. This method will prove a useful tool in answering questions relating to the biology of many difficult-to-culture or fastidious bacteria of clinical concern.
Project description:<b>Background:</b> <i>Chlamydia trachomatis</i> is a prolific human pathogen that can cause serious long-term conditions if left untreated. Recent developments in <i>Chlamydia</i> genetics have opened the door to conducting targeted and random mutagenesis experiments to identify gene function. In the present study, an inducible transposon mutagenesis approach was developed for <i>C. trachomatis</i> using a self-replicating vector to deliver the transposon-transposase cassette - a significant step towards our ultimate aim of achieving saturation mutagenesis of the <i>Chlamydia</i> genome. <b>Methods:</b> The low transformation efficiency of <i>C. trachomatis</i> necessitated the design of a self-replicating vector carrying the transposon mutagenesis cassette (i.e. the Himar-1 transposon containing the beta lactamase gene as well as a hyperactive transposase gene under inducible control of the <i>tet</i> promoter system with the addition of a riboswitch). <i>Chlamydia</i> transformed with this vector (pSW2-RiboA-C9Q) were induced at 24 hours post-infection. Through dual control of transcription and translation, basal expression of transposase was tightly regulated to stabilise the plasmid prior to transposition. <b>Results:</b> Here we present the preliminary sequencing results of transposon mutant pools of both <i>C. trachomatis</i> biovars, using two plasmid-free representatives: urogenital strain <i>C. trachomatis</i> SWFP- and the lymphogranuloma venereum isolate L2(25667R). DNA sequencing libraries were generated and analysed using Oxford Nanopore Technologies' MinION technology. This enabled 'proof of concept' for the methods as an initial low-throughput screen of mutant libraries; the next step is to employ high throughput sequencing to assess saturation mutagenesis. <b>Conclusions:</b> This significant advance provides an efficient method for assaying <i>C. trachomatis</i> gene function and will enable the identification of the essential gene set of <i>C. trachomatis</i>. In the long-term, the methods described herein will add to the growing knowledge of chlamydial infection biology leading to the discovery of novel drug or vaccine targets.
Project description:Chlamydia trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogen of humans, causing both the sexually transmitted infection, chlamydia, and the most common cause of infectious blindness, trachoma. The majority of sequenced C. trachomatis clinical isolates carry a 7.5-Kb plasmid, and it is becoming increasingly evident that this is a key determinant of pathogenicity. The discovery of the Swedish New Variant and the more recent Finnish variant highlight the importance of understanding the natural extent of variation in the plasmid. In this study we analysed 524 plasmid sequences from publicly available whole-genome sequence data. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in each of the eight coding sequences (CDS) were identified and analysed. There were 224 base positions out of a total 7550 bp that carried a SNP, which equates to a SNP rate of 2.97%, nearly three times what was previously calculated. After normalising for CDS size, CDS8 had the highest SNP rate at 3.97% (i.e., number of SNPs per total number of nucleotides), whilst CDS6 had the lowest at 1.94%. CDS5 had the highest total number of SNPs across the 524 sequences analysed (2267 SNPs), whereas CDS6 had the least SNPs with only 85 SNPs. Calculation of the genetic distances identified CDS6 as the least variable gene at the nucleotide level (d = 0.001), and CDS5 as the most variable (d = 0.007); however, at the amino acid level CDS2 was the least variable (d = 0.001), whilst CDS5 remained the most variable (d = 0.013). This study describes the largest in-depth analysis of the C. trachomatis plasmid to date, through the analysis of plasmid sequence data mined from whole genome sequences spanning 50 years and from a worldwide distribution, providing insights into the nature and extent of existing variation within the plasmid as well as guidance for the design of future diagnostic assays. This is crucial at a time when single-target diagnostic assays are failing to detect natural mutants, putting those infected at risk of a serious long-term and life-changing illness.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Infection due to Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial disease of global health significance, and especially the L-serovars causing lymphogranuloma venereum are increasingly being found in Europe in men who have sex with men. RESULTS: The design and evaluation of a rapid, multiplex, real-time PCR targeting the major outer membrane protein (omp-1) -gene and a L-serovar-specific region of the polymorphic protein H (pmp-H) -gene for the detection of Chlamydia trachomatis is reported here. The PCR takes place as a single reaction with an internal control. For L1-, L2- and L3-serovar differentiation a second set of real-time PCRs was evaluated based on the amplification of serovar-specific omp-1-regions. The detection limit of each real-time PCR, multiplexed or not, was 50 genome copies per reaction with an efficiency ranging from 90,5-95,2%. In a retrospective analysis of 50 ocular, rectal and urogenital specimens formerly tested to be positive for C. trachomatis we identified six L2-serovars in rectal specimens of HIV-positive men, one in a double-infection with L3, and one L2 in a urethral specimen of an HIV-negative male. CONCLUSION: This unique real-time PCR is specific and convenient for the rapid routine-diagnostic detection of lymphogranuloma venereum-associated L-serovars and enables the subsequent differentiation of L1, L2 and L3 for epidemiologic studies.