Developmental biology of Coxiella burnetii

Michael F. Minnick, Rahul Raghavan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The biphasic developmental cycle of Coxiella burnetii is central to the pathogen's natural history and survival. A small, dormant cell morphotype (the small-cell variant or SCV) allows this obligate intracellular bacterium to persist for extended periods outside of host cells, resist environmental conditions that would be lethal to most prokaryotes, and is the major infectious stage encountered by eukaryotic hosts. In contrast, a large, metabolically-active morphotype (the large-cell variant or LCV) provides for replication of the agent within acidified parasitophorous vacuoles (PVs) of a host cell. The marked physiological changes, differential gene expression, and the regulatory and structural components involved in Coxiella's morphogenesis from LCV to SCV and back to the LCV are fascinating attributes of the pathogen and are reviewed in this chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoxiella burnetii
Subtitle of host publicationRecent Advances and New Perspectives in Research of the Q Fever Bacterium
EditorsRudolf Toman, James Samuel, Robert Heinzen, Jean-Louis Mege
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598


  • Coxiella
  • Developmental cycle
  • Large-cell variant (LCV)
  • Morphogenesis
  • Small-cell variant (SCV)


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