Stamm, Lola V. Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:January 2016
Show previous versions
- Clinical manifestations
- Prevention and control
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A sexually transmitted infection of humans caused by Treponema pallidum, a corkscrew-shaped motile bacterium (spirochete). Syphilis is an infectious disease caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum (specifically, T. pallidum ssp. pallidum in the family Spirochaetaceae) [see illustration] and is transmitted principally by sexual intercourse. Because of its narrow width, the spirochete cannot be seen by light microscopy, but can be observed with staining procedures (silver stain or immunofluorescence) and with dark-field, phase-contrast, or electron microscopy. Treponema pallidum cannot be continuously cultured in vitro by standard bacteriological methods. For antigen production and experimental studies, the organism is propagated by inoculation of laboratory rabbits. Limited multiplication of T. pallidum has been obtained in a tissue culture system at a temperature of 91–95°F (33–35°C) in an atmosphere containing 1–5% oxygen and in media containing reducing agents. The organism is very sensitive to environmental conditions and to physical and chemical agents. The complete genome sequence of the T. pallidum Nichols strain (1.13 × 106 base pairs) has been determined. Analysis of the nucleotide sequence of the small, circular treponemal chromosome indicates that T. pallidum lacks the genetic information for many of the metabolic activities found in other bacteria. Thus, this spirochete is dependent upon the host for most of its nutritional requirements. See also: Bacteria; Electron microscope; Immunofluorescence; Parasitology
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Its dedicated editorial team is led by Sagan Award winner John Rennie. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 42 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 17,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information