Characterization of the koala biovar of Chlamydia pneumoniae at four gene loci - ompAVD4, ompB, 16S rRNA, groESL spacer region

Stacey Wardrop, Anthony Fowler, Paul O'Callaghan, Phillip Giffard, Peter Timms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Koalas are infected with two species of Chlamydia, C. pecorum and C. pneumoniae. While it is known that significant generic diversity occurs in the C. pecorum strains infecting koalas, very little is known about the C. pneumoniae strains that infect this host. In the current study, 10 isolates of koala C. pneumoniae were analysed at four gene loci and found to be different to both the human and horse C. pneumoniae strains at all loci (biovar differences ranging from 0.3% at groESL up to 9.0% at ompAVD4). All koala biovar isolates studied were found to be 100% identical at ompAVD4 (all 10 isolates) and at ompB (all three isolates) genes. This lack of allelic polymorphisms at ompAVD4 has now been observed for koala C. pneumoniae, human C. pneumoniae, guinea pig inclusion conjuctivitis C. psittaci and feline conjuctivitis C. psittaci and may be correlated to a lack of antibody response to the chlamydial major outer membrane protein (MOMP) in these same strain/host combinations. This study also provides the first documented case of natural C. pneumoniae infection causing a severe and extended respiratory episode in a caprice koala population. This captive episode is in contrast to most free-range observations in which koala C. pneumoniae is rarely documented as causing respiratory, ocular or urogenital tract disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalSystematic and Applied Microbiology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

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