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: Country: United Kingdom; Environment: Ponds; Isolation: Water, most likely pond, Cambridge, UK, 1939; Temp: Mesophile. They form long filaments and can be found worldwide in various aquatic environments as well as some terrestrial ones. These bacteria can form a variety of differentiated cell types, including spore-like cells (akinetes), small motile filaments (hormongia) and most importantly, heterocysts that are nitrogen-producing cells. The heterocyst produces multiple layers outside of its cell wall, shuts down photosystem II in order to inhibit oxygenic photosynthesis and ramps up metabolism in order to use up the oxygen present. Heterocysts donate fixed nitrogen compounds as amino acids to neighboring cells and in return receive a photosynthetically produced carbon source such as sucrose. These organisms produce toxic blooms in aquatic environments that are harmful or fatal to animals and humans due to the various cyanotoxins they produce.