Chlamydia trachomatis causes inflammatory diseases of the eye and genital tract of global importance. Its cryptic plasmid is a key virulence factor in chlamydial pathogenicity. Infections produced by plasmid-cured organisms are short-lived, resolve without measurable pathology, and paradoxically induce superior levels of protective immunity. To better understand the function of plasmid genes we made deletion mutants of all 8 plasmid genes and characterized the gene functions in plasmid biology and pathogenesis. We show that Pgp4 controls the transcription of multiple chlamydial chromosomal genes including those that function in glycogen biosynthesis and type I interferon signaling. Collectively, the findings support a role for Pgp4-regulated chromosomal genes as mediators of inflammation and modulators of T-cell immunity that offer a plausible explanation for the attenuation and superior protective immunogenicity of plasmid-deficient organisms. We will purse the use of the chlamydial plasmid to clone multiple chlamlydial ompA genes (primary serotyping and neutralization target), over express chlamydial protective T cell antigens, and express heterologous antigens from other viral and bacterial STI.

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Porcella, Stephen F; Carlson, John H; Sturdevant, Daniel E et al. (2015) Transcriptional profiling of human epithelial cells infected with plasmid-bearing and plasmid-deficient Chlamydia trachomatis. Infect Immun 83:534-43
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