Internal structures of rickettsiae seen with phase contrast microscopy and in the electron microscope contain desoxyribonucleic acid and are therefore nuclear structures similar to those found in bacteria. They are minute spherical bodies, either single as in spherical rickettsiae or varying in number from 2 to 4 in rod-shaped forms. Occasional dumbbell-shaped chromatinic bodies are thought to represent these structures in the process of division. The presence of ribonucleic acid in the cytoplasm of rickettsiae was demonstrated with the use of ribonuclease and basic dyes. Rickettsiae therefore have a cellular organization similar to that of certain bacteria, with a clear differentiation into nuclear structure and cytoplasm.

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