The Full Wiki

Rickettsia prowazekii: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rickettsia prowazekii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Alpha Proteobacteria
Order: Rickettsiales
Family: Rickettsiaceae
Genus: Rickettsia
Species: R. prowazekii
Binomial name
Rickettsia prowazekii
da Rocha-Lima, 1916

Rickettsia prowazekii is a species of gram negative, bacillus, obligate intracellular parasitic, aerobic bacteria that is the etiologic agent of epidemic typhus, transmitted in the faeces of lice. In North America, the main reservoir for R. prowazekii is the flying squirrel. R. prowazekii is often surrounded by a protein microcapsular layer and slime layer; the natural life cycle of the bacterium generally involves a vertebrate and an invertebrate host, usually an arthropod, typically the human body louse. A form of R. prowazekii that exists in the feces of arthropods remains stably infective for months. R. prowazekii also appears to be the closest free-living relative of mitochondria, based on genome sequencing.





Henrique da Rocha Lima, a Brazilian doctor, discovered this bacterium in 1916.

Evolutionary History

The genome of R. prowazekii provides great insight, especially to the origin of modern-day mitochondria. The R. prowazekii is not only the closest known relative to mitochondria through genome sequencing, as it also has a highly derived genome like that of mitochondria. Since the two are so similar, they likely have a very similar evolutionary history. It is commonly believed that mitochondria evolved through endosymbiosis, and R. prowazekii could have evolved in a similar way. It is even possible for a bacterium similar to R. prowazekii to have been the initiator of endosymbiosis.


Vaccines against R. prowazekii were developed in the 1940s, and were highly effective in reducing typhus deaths among U.S. soldiers during World War II. Immunity following recovery from infection with, or by immunization against, R. prowazekii is lifelong in most cases. However, R. prowazekii can establish a latent infection, which can reactivate after years or decades (referred to as Brill-Zinsser disease). Treatment with tetracycline antibiotics is usually successful.


External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Superregnum: Bacteria
Regnum: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Classis: Alpha Proteobacteria
Ordo: Rickettsiales
Familia: Rickettsiaceae
Tribus: Rickettsieae
Genus: Rickettsia
Species: Rickettsia prowazekii


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address