Reactivation of persistent Chlamydia trachomatis infection in cell culture

W. L. Beatty, R. P. Morrison, G. I. Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Gamma interferon induces persistent chlamydial infections in cell culture. These infections are characterized by altered morphologic and biochemical features of the pathogen. These persistent forms are abnormally large and noninfectious and undergo unusual structural and functional changes, including production of a paucity of outer envelope constituents and normal levels of the chlamydial hsp60, an immunopathological antigen. The current investigation evaluates the events that occur during reactivation of infectious Chlamydia trachomatis from persistently infected cell cultures. Transfer of persistent chlamydial organisms to gamma interferon-free medium resulted in recovery of infectivity accompanied by an increase in levels of structural membrane proteins and reorganization of aberrant organisms to morphologically typical elementary bodies. In addition, reactivation of infectious organisms from persistent chlamydiae that were maintained in culture for several weeks was demonstrated. These studies show that persistent C. trachomatis maintains viability for extended periods, illustrate the reversibility of immunologically mediated persistent infections, and characterize reactivation at the ultrastructural and biochemical levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995


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