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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013 Oct 31;7(10):e2514. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002514. eCollection 2013.

Development of genetic system to inactivate a Borrelia turicatae surface protein selectively produced within the salivary glands of the arthropod vector.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Borrelia turicatae, an agent of tick-borne relapsing fever, is an example of a pathogen that can adapt to disparate conditions found when colonizing the mammalian host and arthropod vector. However, little is known about the genetic factors necessary during the tick-mammalian infectious cycle, therefore we developed a genetic system to transform this species of spirochete. We also identified a plasmid gene that was up-regulated in vitro when B. turicatae was grown in conditions mimicking the tick environment. This 40 kilodalton protein was predicted to be surface localized and designated the Borrelia repeat protein A (brpA) due to the redundancy of the amino acid motif Gln-Gly-Asn-Val-Glu.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction using RNA from B. turicatae infected ticks and mice indicated differential regulation of brpA during the tick-mammalian infectious cycle. The surface localization was determined, and production of the protein within the salivary glands of the tick was demonstrated. We then applied a novel genetic system for B. turicatae to inactivate brpA and examined the role of the gene product for vector colonization and the ability to establish murine infection.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

These results demonstrate the complexity of protein production in a population of spirochetes within the tick. Additionally, the development of a genetic system is important for future studies to evaluate the requirement of specific B. turicatae genes for vector colonization and transmission.

PMID:
24205425
PMCID:
PMC3814808
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pntd.0002514
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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