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29 May 2014

978 1 90493 321 2
Taylor and Francis
GBP 75.00

Chlamydia: Genomics and Pathogenesis

Patrik M. Bavoil and Priscilla B. Wyrick (eds)

This very interesting book reviewing Chlamydial research was published in 2006, but has yet to be replaced by anything as good. Research on Chlamydia is of great interest since according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 5–10% of sexually active young men and women in Europe suffer from Chlamydia every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that it is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States.

Written by not only leading experts, but also the so-called ‘new generation’ researchers in the field, this book offers a broad overview of all aspects of the microorganism’s molecular and cellular biology. Each of the 23 thematically structured chapters contains very detailed information. The main arguments and points of each chapter are excellently illustrated by figures, tables and other illustrations. The contributors of this book provide a thorough review of research done on Chlamydia, emphasizing the enormous leap forward that was possible due to improvements in genomics. This facilitated the sequencing of the whole genomes of several different Chlamydia strains which was considered to be of great importance for a better understanding of the pathogenesis of Chlamydial diseases.

The Chlamydial proteome and transcriptome analysis, summarized in four detailed chapters (chapters 3, 4, 6 and 7), gives us a first hint of how gene expression is regulated. Identification of different protein families elucidates basic metabolic processes of the organism. The survival of Chlamydia as a parasite is closely related to the survival of the host cell. In four excellent chapters, the book provides understanding of which nutrients are important for survival and why (chapter 8 and 9) and how Chlamydia exploits its host (chapter 13) and how exactly Chlamydia manages to compete with its host cell to survive and at the same time also fight the innate and acquired immunity (chapter 14). Within the host, Chlamydia resides inside vacuoles, interacting with various processes of the host to obtain essential nutrients. Simultaneously, the organism ensures its survival by staying out of reach from the host’s bacterial defence mechanism. Chlamydia is able to influence survival and death of the host cell. It is speculated that an induced resistance to apoptosis contributes to the persistence of the infection. When reading these chapters it quickly becomes obvious to the reader what a clever pathogen Chlamydia is. How it avoids the immunity of the host is discussed in further detail in several intriguing chapters (chapters 16–20). Still so many things are unknown and are not completely understood. Especially, as chapter 20 demonstrates, how little is known about tissue destruction and inflammatory changes.

This book provides an excellent overview on Chlamydia for researchers in the field, especially those who are interested in bacterial pathogenesis and antibacterial research. However, already 8 years have passed since the book was published. When the book was published in 2006, a Chlamydial transformation system, for example, was not available yet. This has recently changed (e.g. the study by Yibing Wang et al.1). Therefore more interesting findings will probably be available in the coming years. As this was the case with advances in genomics a decade ago, this development will now have a great impact on Chlamydial research. Therefore the book cannot be more than an introduction into the field, although an excellent one, without a doubt.

1Wang, Y., Kahane, S., Cutcliffe, L.T., Skilton, R.J., Lambden, P.R. and Clarke, I.N. (2011) Development of a transformation system for Chlamydia trachomatis: restoration of glycogen biosynthesis by acquisition of a plasmid shuttle vector. PLoS Pathog. 7, e1002258

Mirja Krause (Technical University of Berlin, Germany)

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