Simkania negevensis, a bacterium formerly referred to as 'the micro-organism Z' or 'Simkania Z', belongs to the order Chlamydiales, assigned to the family Simkaniaceae. The purpose of this study was to investigate the production of Simkania negevensis progeny in infected cells in comparison with the well-documented Chlamydiaceae developmental cycle. It was found that replicating Simkania negevensis in Vero cells resembled the reticulate bodies of all known chlamydial species: in electron micrographs they were reticulated, homogeneously staining, and often caught in the process of binary division. These replicative forms were found in low abundance shortly after infection, but by 3 days post-infection they were the most prevalent particles in host cells. Electron-dense forms of Simkania negevensis began to appear on the third day post-infection, but quantitatively did not account for the high titre of infectivity in extracts from these host cells. These had both electron-dense and electron-lucent areas, a characteristic seen only in a few chlamydial species. Simkania negevensis infectivity did not appreciably change during the ensuing 12 days required for host cell lysis, despite an eightfold increase in the proportion of electron-dense bacteria over this time. The emergence of electron-dense bodies, increase in infectivity and host-cell lysis were not synchronized developmental events. This is a novel finding in Chlamydiales spp. and suggests that Simkania negevensis will provide new perspectives in the mechanisms of chlamydial intracellular growth.
- Chlamydia-like micro-organism
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