The footsteps of chlamydial gene regulation


Regulatory networks in bacteria have been investigated in model microorganisms, but nearly nothing is known about the evolution and plasticity of these networks in obligate, intracellular bacteria. In a recent study published in MBE, Daryl Domman and Matthias Horn investigated regulatory networks in chlamydiae using a comprehensive comparative genomics approach. They unveiled genus- and family-specific regulatory motifs and architectures, most notably those of virulence-associated genes. Few regulatory components are conserved across the phylum, and those that are conserved are involved in the exploitation of the intracellular niche. This study lends insight into a component of chlamydial evolution that has otherwise remained largely unexplored.