Identification of plasmid-free chlamydia muridarum organisms using a pgp3 detection-based immunofluorescence assay

Chaoqun Chen, Guangming Zhong, Lin Ren, Chunxue Lu, Zhongyu Li, Yimou Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Chlamydia possesses a conserved 7.5 kb plasmid that is known to play an important role in chlamydial pathogenesis, since some chlamydial organisms lacking the plasmid are attenuated. The chlamydial transformation system developed recently required the use of plasmid-free organisms. Thus, the generation and identification of plasmid-free organisms represent a key step in understanding chlamydial pathogenic mechanisms. A tricolor immunofluorescence assay for simultaneously detecting the plasmid-encoded Pgp3 and whole organisms plus DNA staining was used to screen C. muridarum organisms selected with novobiocin. PCR was used to detect the plasmid genes. Next-generation sequencing was then used to sequence the genomes of plasmid-free C. muridarum candidates and the parental C. muridarum Nigg strain. We generated five independent clones of plasmid-free C. muridarum organisms by using a combination of novobiocin treatment and screening plaque-purified clones with anti-Pgp3 antibody. The clones were confirmed to lack plasmid genes by PCR analysis. No GlgA protein or glycogen accumulation was detected in cells infected with the plasmid-free clones. More importantly, whole-genome sequencing characterization of the plasmid-free C. muridarum organism and the parental C. muridarum Nigg strain revealed no additional mutations other than loss of the plasmid in the plasmid-free C. muridarum organism. Thus, the Pgp3-based immunofluorescence assay has allowed us to identify authentic plasmid-free organisms that are useful for further investigating chlamydial pathogenic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA006
Pages (from-to)1621-1628
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2015


  • Chlamydia muridarum
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Pgp3 detection
  • Plasmid depletion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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