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Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular gram-negative bacterial pathogen, an ethiological agent of Q-fever, a zoonotic disease, elapsing as an acute (mostly atypical pneumonia) or a chronic (mostly endocarditis) form. The host range is represented by wide range of mammal, avian and arthropod species, but the main source of human infection are farm animals. The main route of infection is aerosolic. In case of contact with organism pathogen binds with phagocytal monocytic-macrophagal cell line. C. burnetii promotes maturation of specific phagolysosome-like compartment in host cell, called coxiella-containing vacuole, within this vacuole pathogen becames metabolically activated and actively replicates. Coxiella persists as metabolically inactive spore-like form in environment. Internalisation of C. burnetii occurs using actin-mediated phagocytosis and zipper mechanism. After internalization of bacteria maturation of phagolysosome-like compartment and large coxiella-containing vacuole formation occure, and vacuole can occupy nearly the whole cytoplasm of the host cell. Survivance of infected cells is important for chronic infection with C. burnetii. C. burnetii elongate the viability of host cell by two ways: it actively inhibits apoptotic signal cascades and induce pro-survival factors. Except
that C. burnetii involves autophagic pathway during coxiella-containing vacuole formation, and induction of autophagy promotes pathogen replication. During infection C. burnetii translocates effector substrates from bacterial cytosole to euca ryotic host cell cytosole using type IV secretion system, where effectors modulate host cell proteins. Overall approximately 130 secreted effectors of type IV transport system, but function of most of them remains unknown to date. Specific sec reted proteins for variety of strains and isolates were identified, confirmed that certain pathotypes of C. burnetii can exist. Identification and characterization of novel virulence factors it is now possible through axenic media for C. burnetii cultivation and development of site-specific mutagenesis and other genetic technics, which is important for research of C. burnetii molecular pathogenesis.

About the authors

Yu. A. Panferova

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute

Author for correspondence.

Junior Researcher, Laboratory of Zoonoses, St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation 197101, Russian Federation, St. Petersburg, Mira str., 14, Phone: +7 (812) 232-21-36 (office). Fax: +7 (812) 232-92-17.

Russian Federation


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