Posted on Jul 18, 2013, 6 a.m.
Chlamydia trachomatis can cause mutations in the host DNA, thereby leading to the development of cancer.
Chlamydia trachomatis is a human pathogen that is the leading cause of bacterial sexually transmitted disease worldwide with more than 90 million new cases of genital infections occurring each year. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (Germany) reveal that Chlamydia infections can cause mutations in the host DNA by overriding the normal mechanisms by which their host prevents unregulated growth of genetically damaged cells that pave the way for the development of cancer. Cindrilla Chumduri and colleagues observe increased levels of DNA breaks in Chlamydia-infected cells. Further, Chlamydia infected cells continue to proliferate, facilitated by additional pro-survival signals activated in the host cells by Chlamydia – leading to an increased tendency to evade the normal mechanisms that eliminate cells carrying mutations that could lead to cancer. The study authors conclude that: “[Chlamydia trachomatis] generates an environment favorable for malignant transformation.”