Chlamydia trachomatis Strains Show Specific Clustering for Men Who Have Sex with Men Compared to Heterosexual Populations in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United States

Linus Christerson, Reinier J. M. Bom, Sylvia M. Bruisten, Resha Yass, Justin Hardick, Goran Bratt, Charlotte A. Gaydos, Servaas A. Morre, Bjorn Herrmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


High-resolution genotyping of Chlamydia trachomatis improves the characterization of strains infecting different patient groups and sexual networks. In this study, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and ompA sequence determination were used for an analysis of C. trachomatis strains from 203 men who have sex with men (MSM) from Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United States. The results obtained were compared with data from 153 heterosexual women from Sweden and the Netherlands. The overlap in MLST/ompA profiles between MSM from Sweden and the Netherlands was 68%, while the overlap between heterosexual populations from these countries was only 18%. The distribution of genotypes in MSM from the United States was less similar to that in MSM from the European countries, with 45% and 46% overlaps for MSM in Sweden and the Netherlands, respectively. Minimum-spanning-tree analysis of MLST/ompA sequence types identified two large clusters that contained almost exclusively samples from MSM and comprised 74% of all MSM samples. Three other clusters were predominated by samples from women but also contained MSM specimens. Of 19 detected variants of the MLST target CT144, three variants were highly associated with MSM. Our study supports the hypotheses of both tissue tropism as well as epidemiological network structures as explanations for the linkage between specific genetic variants and sexual orientation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3548-3555
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

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