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Infect Immun. 1971 February; 3(2): 333–341.
PMCID: PMC416152

Ultrastructural Analysis of the Effects of Penicillin and Chlortetracycline on the Development of a Genital Tract Chlamydia1


The developmental cycle of a genital tract Chlamydia (MRC-1/G) growing in irradiated monkey kidney cell monolayers was analyzed by electron microscopy. Growth was essentially similar to that of C. psittaci and ocular isolates of C. trachomatis. Penicillin (50 units/ml) interfered with the growth cycle by producing greatly enlarged initial bodies which sometimes measured 3 μm instead of the normal 1 to 1.3 μm in diameter. In contrast to penicillin, chlortetracycline (10 μg/ml) did not grossly distort morphology of the initial body but had a definite inhibitory effect on the formation of elementary bodies depending upon the time postinfection the antibiotic was added. If added 24 hr or later postinfection, typical inclusions containing elementary bodies were formed. When administered 18 hr postinfection, the transition of initial bodies to elementary bodies was prevented, and the inclusion was much smaller when examined at 48 hr in comparison to a control without chlortetracycline. Addition of the drug at 6 or 12 hr postinfection resulted in very small inclusions which contained only one or two chlamydiae of an initial body type. It was not possible to detect chlamydiae when chlortetracycline was added immediately after adsorption (0 hr), and cells were examined by light and electron microscopy at 48 hr.

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