Evidence that human chlamydia pneumoniae was zoonotically acquired

Myers, G. S. A., Mathews, S. A., Eppinger, M., Mitchell, C. M., O'Brien, K. K., White, O. R., Benahmed, F., Brunham, R. C., Read, T. D., Ravel, J., Bavoil, P. M., & Timms, P. (2009) Evidence that human chlamydia pneumoniae was zoonotically acquired. Journal of Bacteriology, 191(23), pp. 7225-7233.

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Zoonotic infections are a growing threat to global health. Chlamydia pneumoniae is a major human pathogen that is widespread in human populations, causing acute respiratory disease, and has been associated with chronic disease. C. pneumoniae was first identified solely in human populations; however, its host range now includes other mammals, marsupials, amphibians, and reptiles. Australian koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are widely infected with two species of Chlamydia, C. pecorum and C. pneumoniae. Transmission of C. pneumoniae between animals and humans has not been reported; however, two other chlamydial species, C. psittaci and C. abortus, are known zoonotic pathogens. We have sequenced the 1,241,024-bp chromosome and a 7.5-kb cryptic chlamydial plasmid of the koala strain of C. pneumoniae (LPCoLN) using the whole-genome shotgun method. Comparative genomic analysis, including pseudogene and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) distribution, and phylogenetic analysis of conserved genes and SNPs against the human isolates of C. pneumoniae show that the LPCoLN isolate is basal to human isolates. Thus, we propose based on compelling genomic and phylogenetic evidence that humans were originally infected zoonotically by an animal isolate(s) of C. pneumoniae which adapted to humans primarily through the processes of gene decay and plasmid loss, to the point where the animal reservoir is no longer required for transmission.

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44 citations in Scopus
40 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 30259
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Chlamydia, Evolution, Genomics, Koala, Human
DOI: 10.1128/JB.00746-09
ISSN: 0021-9193
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > MICROBIOLOGY (060500) > Bacteriology (060501)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY (110800) > Medical Bacteriology (110801)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved
Deposited On: 09 Feb 2010 06:38
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:57

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