Microbiology

Chlamydia Transformed

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Science  23 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6050, pp. 1680
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6050.1680-b
CREDIT: CDC

The single most important pathogen causing blindness in humans is the intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Despite its clinical importance, this bacterium has not succumbed to the now-standard genetic techniques required for probing the biology of pathogens. Starting with the knowledge that penicillin is not recommended for treatment of Chlamydia and allied sexually transmitted diseases (because it merely temporarily arrests replication of Chlamydia), Wang et al. have developed plasmid vectors composed of standard shuttle vectors carrying antibiotic resistance genes, ligated to Chlamydia's own plasmid. They then used penicillin selection to produce clones of the pathogen bearing the plasmid construct. They took their verified new shuttle vector to transform Chlamydia strains lacking plasmids, and en route elucidated the puzzle of the native plasmid's function: glycogen biosynthesis.

PLoS Pathog. 7, 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002258 (2011).

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