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 is the endosymbiont of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana. It is a Gram-negative maternally inherited bacteria which lives in specialized cells in the host's abdominal fat body. Phylogenetic analyses for the Blattabacterium-cockroach symbiosis supports the hypothesis of co-evolution between symbionts and hosts dating back to more than 140 million years ago. Cockroaches are omnivorous insects, often subsisting on a nitrogen-poor diet, and Blattabacterium have been hypothesized to participate in uric acid degradation, nitrogen assimilation, and nutrient provisioning. Genome sequencing and metabolic reconstruction shows that Blattabacterium can recycle nitrogen from urea and ammonia, which are uric acid degradation products, into glutamate, using urease and glutamate dehydrogenase, and thus would be able to provide its host with some essential amino acids, vitamins and cofactors. The bacterium relies on asparagine and glutamine supplied by the host; it may be able to make proline from arginine via the urea cycle.