Obligate intracellular bacterium Ehrlichia inhibiting mitochondrial activity

Yan Liu, Zhikai Zhang, Yongquan Jiang, Lihong Zhang, Vsevolod L. Popov, Jianzhi Zhang, David H. Walker, Xue jie Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Ehrlichia are obligately intracellular bacteria that reside in a vacuole in the cytoplasm of phagocytes. We determined by confocal microscopy the interaction between Ehrlichia and mitochondria in DH82 cells to investigate the mechanism of Ehrlichia survival inside the phagocyte. The most remarkable finding of our study was that Ehrlichia morulae interacted with mitochondria and inhibited mitochondrial metabolism. We showed that in Ehrlichia chaffeensis-infected DH82 cells, mitochondria did not incorporate BrdU and transcriptional level of the mitochondrial gene NADPH2 was significantly reduced, indicating the inhibition of mitochondrial metabolism. This study demonstrates that Ehrlichia are able to inhibit mitochondrial activities, and it opens up a new avenue for the study of Ehrlichia pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalMicrobes and Infection
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Ehrlichia
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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