Publication details

Uncultivable Pathogenic Treponemes



Year of publication 2015
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Description Uncultivable pathogenic treponemes represent bacterial species and subspecies that are obligate pathogens of humans and animals. Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum causes sexually transmitted syphilis, a multistage disease characterized in humans by localized, disseminated, and chronic forms of infection. Causative agents of endemic treponematoses comprise Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue (agent of yaws), Treponema pallidum subsp. endemicum (agent of bejel) and T. carateum (agent of pinta) causing milder, non-venereal transmitted diseases affecting skin, bones and joints. Closely related treponemes, simian Treponema Fribourg-Blanc and T. paraluiscuniculi, cause infections in non-human primates and rabbits, respectively. T. paraluiscuniculi is not pathogenic to humans, whereas simian Treponema Fribourg-Blanc has been shown to cause experimental human infections. All human treponematoses share remarkable similarities in pathogenesis and clinical manifestations, consistent with the high genetic and antigenic relatedness of their aetiological agents. Pathogenic treponemes are characterized by low toxicity, high invasiveness, and high immuno-evasiveness. Moreover, treponemes are pathogens able to infect almost any type of human tissues, i.e. showing broad tissue tropism. All these pathogenic treponemes cannot be continuously cultivated under in vitro conditions. All uncultivable pathogenic treponemes have a reduced genome (~1.14 Mb) and represent clonal bacteria with identical genome structure having only minimal genetic differences in their genomic sequences.
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