A Novel Flow Cytometric Approach for the Quantification and Quality Control of Chlamydia trachomatis Preparations

Romana Klasinc, Michael Reiter, Astrid Digruber, Waltraud Tschulenk, Ingrid Walter, Alexander Kirschner, Andreas Spittler, Hannes Stockinger

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

2 Citations (Scopus)


Chlamydia trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogenic bacterium with a biphasic developmental cycle manifesting two distinct morphological forms: infectious elementary bodies (EBs) and replicative intracellular reticulate bodies (RBs). Current standard protocols for quantification of the isolates assess infectious particles by titering inclusion-forming units, using permissive cell lines, and analyzing via immunofluorescence. Enumeration of total particle counts is achieved by counting labeled EBs/RBs using a fluorescence microscope. Both methods are time-consuming with a high risk of observer bias. For a better assessment of C. trachomatis preparations, we developed a simple and time-saving flow cytometry-based workflow for quantifying small particles, such as EBs with a size of 300 nm. This included optimization of gain and threshold settings with the addition of a neutral density filter for small-particle discrimination. The nucleic acid dye SYBR® Green I (SGI) was used together with propidium iodide and 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein diacetate to enumerate and discriminate between live and dead bacteria. We found no significant differences between the direct particle count of SGI-stained C. trachomatis preparations measured by microscopy or flow cytometry (p > 0.05). Furthermore, we completed our results by introducing a cell culture-independent viability assay. Our measurements showed very good reproducibility and comparability to the existing state-of-the-art methods, indicating that the evaluation of C. trachomatis preparations by flow cytometry is a fast and reliable method. Thus, our method facilitates an improved assessment of the quality of C. trachomatis preparations for downstream applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1617
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2021


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