Rickettsia felis, from Culture to Genome Sequencing


Address for correspondence: Didier Raoult, Université de la Méditerranée, CNRS UMR 6020, Faculté de Médecine, Unité des Rickettsies, 27 Bd Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille, France. Voice: +33 4 91 38 55 17; fax: +33 4 91 38 77 72. didier.raoult@medecine.univ-mrs.fr


Abstract: Rickettsia felis has been recently cultured in XTC2 cells. This allows production of enough bacteria to create a genomic bank and to sequence it. The chromosome of R. felis is longer than that of previously sequenced rickettsiae and it possess 2 plasmids. Microscopically, this bacterium exhibits two forms of pili: one resembles a conjugative pilus and another forms hair-like projections that may play a role in pathogenicity. R. felis also exhibits several copies of ankyrin-repeat genes and tetratricopeptide encoding gene that are specifically linked to pathogenic host-associated bacteria. It also contains toxin-antitoxin system encoding genes that are extremely rare in intracellular bacteria and may be linked to plasmid maintenance.