We previously associated a missense mutation of the tc0668 gene of serial in vitro-passaged Chlamydia muridarum, a murine model of human urogenital C. trachomatis, with severely attenuated disease development in the upper genital tract of female mice. Since these mutants also contained a TC0237 Q117E missense mutation that enhances their in vitro infectivity, an effort was made here to isolate and characterize a tc0668 single mutant to determine its individual contribution to urogenital pathogenicity. Detailed genetic analysis of C. muridarum passages revealed a truncated variant with a G216* nonsense mutation of the 408-amino-acid TC0668 protein that does not produce a detectable product. Intracellular growth and infectivity of C. muridarum in vitro remain unaffected in the absence of TC0668. Intravaginal inoculation of the TC0668 null mutant into C3H/HeJ mice results in a typical course of lower genital tract infection but, unlike a pathogenic isogenic control, is unable to elicit significant chronic inflammation of the oviduct and fails to induce hydrosalpinx. Thus, TC0668 is demonstrated as an important chromosome- encoded urogenital pathogenicity factor of C. muridarum and the first with these characteristics to be discovered for a Chlamydia pathogen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases