Title

In Vivo Expression Technology Identifies a Novel Virulence Factor Critical for Borrelia burgdorferi Persistence in Mice

Authors

Authors

T. C. Ellis; S. Jain; A. K. Linowski; K. Rike; A. Bestor; P. A. Rosa; M. Halpern; S. Kurhanewicz;M. W. Jewett

Comments

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Abbreviated Journal Title

PLoS Pathog.

Keywords

LYME-DISEASE SPIROCHETE; VLSE ANTIGENIC VARIATION; LINEAR PLASMIDS 1P25; SURFACE PROTEIN-C; GENE-EXPRESSION; MAMMALIAN HOST; BACTERIAL VIRULENCE; INFECTIOUS CYCLE; TICK VECTOR; DISSEMINATION; Microbiology; Parasitology; Virology

Abstract

Analysis of the transcriptome of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, during infection has proven difficult due to the low spirochete loads in the mammalian tissues. To overcome this challenge, we have developed an In Vivo Expression Technology (IVET) system for identification of B. burgdorferi genes expressed during an active murine infection. Spirochetes lacking linear plasmid (lp) 25 are non-infectious yet highly transformable. Mouse infection can be restored to these spirochetes by expression of the essential lp25-encoded pncA gene alone. Therefore, this IVET-based approach selects for in vivo-expressed promoters that drive expression of pncA resulting in the recovery of infectious spirochetes lacking lp25 following a three week infection in mice. Screening of approximately 15,000 clones in mice identified 289 unique in vivo-expressed DNA fragments from across all 22 replicons of the B. burgdorferi B31 genome. The in vivo-expressed candidate genes putatively encode proteins in various functional categories including antigenicity, metabolism, motility, nutrient transport and unknown functions. Candidate gene bbk46 on essential virulence plasmid lp36 was found to be highly induced in vivo and to be RpoS-independent. Immunocompetent mice inoculated with spirochetes lacking bbk46 seroconverted but no spirochetes were recovered from mouse tissues three weeks post inoculation. However, the bbk46 gene was not required for B. burgdorferi infection of immunodeficient mice. Therefore, through an initial IVET screen in B. burgdorferi we have identified a novel in vivo-induced virulence factor critical for the ability of the spirochete to evade the humoral immune response and persistently infect mice.

Journal Title

Plos Pathogens

Volume

9

Issue/Number

8

Publication Date

1-1-2013

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

18

WOS Identifier

WOS:000323888200057

ISSN

1553-7374

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