Query: NC_010263:167450 Rickettsia rickettsii str. Iowa, complete genome Lineage: Rickettsia rickettsii; Rickettsia; Rickettsiaceae; Rickettsiales; Proteobacteria; Bacteria General Information: Causative agent for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This organism was first identified by Dr. Howard Rickets as the causative agent of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which was originally named for its geographic distribution at the time, it is now known to be widespread throughout the North American continent. This bacterium is an obligate intracellular pathogen that infects primarily the vascular endothelium, and occasionally smooth muscle tissue. It is passed to the human host from a tick bite, and the tick acts as both a natural reservoir and a vector for disease transmission. Once the organism is endocytosed by the host cell, it quickly escapes the phagozome, and replicates intracellularly, causing cell death and tissue damage. The disease is characterized by a spotted rash and has a high mortality rate if left untreated.
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General Information: This organism was first isolated from the soil in Vineland, New Jersey, although it is found worldwide. It is a large obligate aerobe that has one of the highest respiratory rates of any organism. Azotobacter vinelandii also produces a number of unusual nitrogenases which allow it to fix atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia, a compound it can then use as a nitrogen source. It protects the oxygen-sensitive nitrogenase enzymes through its high respiratory rate, which sequesters the nitrogenase complexes in an anoxic environment. This organism has a number of unusual characteristics. Under extreme environmental conditions, the cell will produce a cyst that is resistant to dessication and is surrounded by two capsular polysaccharide layers. This organism produces two industrially important polysaccharides, poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) and alginate. PHB is a thermoplastic biopolymer, and alginate is used in the food industry. Alginate is also used by the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa to infect the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.