Localization of DNA in Coxiella burnetii by Post-Embedding ImmunoelectronMicroscopy




Coxiella burnetii, the etiological agent of Q fever, is a mildly acidophilicobligate intracellular bacterium which grows only in the phagolysosomes of eukaryotic cells. Growth of C. burnetii within the phagolysosomes leads to the formation of distinctly different morphological cell types, namely, the spore, the small cell variant (SCV), and the large cell variant(LCV). Ultrastructural studies have provided supportive evidence that C. burnetii multiplies by transverse binary fission. In addition to a typical bacterial growth cycle, C. burnetii undergoes sporogenic differentiation. An asymmetrical cellular division of the cytoplasm of the mother cell leads to the formation of the spore, which resembles the SCV after release of this cell from the mother cell. The two morphological cell types are therefore members of a developmental cycle that consists of both vegetative growth and sporogenic cellular differentiation. (js)



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