Chlamydia are obligate intracellular eubacteria that are phylogenetically separated from other bacterial divisions. C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae are both pathogens of humans but differ in their tissue tropism and spectrum of diseases. C. pneumoniae is a newly recognized species of Chlamydia that is a natural pathogen of humans, and causes pneumonia and bronchitis. In the United States, approximately 10% of pneumonia cases and 5% of bronchitis cases are attributed to C. pneumoniae infection. Chronic disease may result following respiratory-acquired infection, such as reactive airway disease, adult-onset asthma and potentially lung cancer. In addition, C. pneumoniae infection has been associated with atherosclerosis. C. trachomatis infection causes trachoma, an ocular infection that leads to blindness, and sexually transmitted diseases such as pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and epididymitis. Although relatively little is known about C. trachomatis biology, even less is known concerning C. pneumoniae. Comparison of the C. pneumoniae genome with the C. trachomatis genome will provide an understanding of the common biological processes required for infection and survival in mammalian cells. Genomic differences are implicated in the unique properties that differentiate the two species in disease spectrum. Analysis of the 1,230,230-nt C. pneumoniae genome revealed 214 protein-coding sequences not found in C. trachomatis, most without homologues to other known sequences. Prominent comparative findings include expansion of a novel family of 21 sequence-variant outer-membrane proteins, conservation of a type-III secretion virulence system, three serine/threonine protein kinases and a pair of parologous phospholipase-D-like proteins, additional purine and biotin biosynthetic capability, a homologue for aromatic amino acid (tryptophan) hydroxylase and the loss of tryptophan biosynthesis genes.
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