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    Chlamydia spp. productively infect mucosal epithelial cells of multiple anatomical sites, including the conjunctiva, lungs, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and urogenital tract. We, and others, previously established that chlamydial GI tropism is mediated by distinct chromosomal and plasmid factors. In this study, we describe a genital infection-attenuated Chlamydia muridarum mutant (GIAM-1) that is profoundly and specifically attenuated in the murine genital tract. GIAM-1 infected the murine GI tract similarly to wild-type (WT) Chlamydia muridarum but did not productively infect the lower genital tract of female mice, ascend to infect the upper genital tract, or cause hydrosalpinx. However, GI infection of mice with GIAM-1 elicited a transmucosal immune response that protected against subsequent genital challenge with WT Chlamydia muridarum Collectively, our results demonstrate that chlamydia mutants that are profoundly attenuated for specific organ tissues can be derived and demonstrate that live-attenuated vaccine strains that infect the GI tract, but do not elicit genital tract disease, could be used to protect against chlamydia genital tract infection and disease.IMPORTANCE Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the United States. Most chlamydia genital infections resolve without serious consequences; however, untreated infection in women can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Antibiotics are very effective in treating chlamydia, but most genital infections in both men and women are asymptomatic and go undiagnosed. Therefore, there is a critical need for an effective vaccine. In this work, we show that a mutant chlamydia strain, having substantially reduced virulence for genital infection, colonizes the gastrointestinal tract and produces robust immunity to genital challenge with fully virulent wild-type chlamydia. These results are an important advance in understanding chlamydial virulence and provide compelling evidence that safe and effective live-attenuated chlamydia vaccines may be feasible. Copyright © 2020 Morrison et al.


    Sandra G Morrison, Amanda M Giebel, Evelyn Toh, Arkaprabha Banerjee, David E Nelson, Richard P Morrison. A Genital Infection-Attenuated Chlamydia muridarum Mutant Infects the Gastrointestinal Tract and Protects against Genital Tract Challenge. mBio. 2020 Nov 03;11(6)

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    PMID: 33144378

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