Chlamydiae as symbionts in eukaryotes

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2008;62:113-31. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.62.081307.162818.


Members of the phylum Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria that were discovered about a century ago. Although Chlamydiae are major pathogens of humans and animals, they were long recognized only as a phylogenetically well-separated, small group of closely related microorganisms. The diversity of chlamydiae, their host range, and their occurrence in the environment had been largely underestimated. Today, several chlamydia-like bacteria have been described as symbionts of free-living amoebae and other eukaryotic hosts. Some of these environmental chlamydiae might also be of medical relevance for humans. Their analysis has contributed to a broader understanding of chlamydial biology and to novel insights into the evolution of these unique microorganisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amoeba / microbiology
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Chlamydiales / genetics
  • Chlamydiales / growth & development
  • Chlamydiales / pathogenicity
  • Chlamydiales / physiology*
  • Ecosystem
  • Eukaryotic Cells / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / microbiology
  • Public Health
  • Symbiosis