Chlamydia trachomatis genes whose products are related to energy metabolism are expressed differentially in active vs. persistent infection

Microbes Infect. 2002 Jan;4(1):13-22. doi: 10.1016/s1286-4579(01)01504-0.


The Chlamydia trachomatis genome encodes glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway enzymes, two ATP/ADP exchange proteins, and other energy transduction-related components. We asked if and when chlamydial genes specifying products related to energy transduction are expressed during active vs. persistent infection in in vitro models and in synovia from Chlamydia-associated arthritis patients. Hep-2 cells infected with K serovar were harvested from 0-48 h post-infection (active infection). Human monocytes identically infected were harvested at 1, 2, 3, 5 days post-infection (persistent). RNA from each preparation and from synovial samples PCR-positive/-negative for Chlamydia DNA was subjected to RT-PCR targeting (a) chlamydial primary rRNA transcripts and adt1 mRNA, (b) chlamydial mRNA encoding enzymes of the glycolysis (pyk, gap, pgk) and pentose phosphate (gnd, tal) pathways, the TCA cycle (mdhC, fumC), electron transport system (cydA, cydB), and sigma factors (rpoD, rpsD, rpoN). Primary rRNA transcripts and adt1 mRNA were present in each infected preparation and patient sample; controls were negative for chlamydial RNA. In infected Hep-2 cells, all energy transduction-related genes were expressed by approximately 11 h post-infection. In monocytes, pyk, gap, pgk, gnd, tal, cydA mRNA were present in 1-2-day-infected cells but absent at 3 days and after; cydB, mdhC, fumC were expressed through 5 days post-infection. RT-PCR targeting mRNA from sigma factor genes indicated that lack of these gene products cannot explain selective transcriptional down-regulation during persistence. Analyses of RNA from synovial tissues mirrored those from the monocyte system. These data suggest that in the first phase of active chlamydial infection, ADP/ATP exchange provides energy required for metabolism; in active growth, glycolysis supplements host ATP. In persistence host, rather than bacterially produced, ATP is the primary energy source. Metabolic rate in persistent C. trachomatis is lower than in actively growing cells, as judged from assays for relative chlamydial primary rRNA transcript levels in persistent vs. actively growing cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / enzymology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / genetics
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / pathogenicity*
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • Electron Transport
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Pentose Phosphate Pathway
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Synovial Fluid / microbiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Adenosine Triphosphate