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Infect Immun. 2018 Aug 22;86(9). pii: e00217-18. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00217-18. Print 2018 Sep.

Short-Chain Fatty Acids Alter Metabolic and Virulence Attributes of Borrelia burgdorferi.

Author information

1
South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics and Department of Biology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA.
2
South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics and Department of Biology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA j.seshu@utsa.edu.

Abstract

Borrelia burgdorferi responds to a variety of host-derived factors and appropriately alters its gene expression for adaptation under different host-specific conditions. We previously showed that various levels of acetate, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), altered the protein profile of B. burgdorferi In this study, we determined the effects of other physiologically relevant SCFAs in the regulation of metabolic/virulence-associated proteins using mutant borrelial strains. No apparent increase in the synthesis of outer surface protein C (OspC) was noted when a carbon storage regulator A (csrA of B. burgdorferi, or csrABb ) mutant (mt) was propagated within dialysis membrane chambers implanted within rat peritoneal cavity, while the parental wild type (wt; B31-A3 strain) and csrABb cis-complemented strain (ct) had increased OspC with a reciprocal reduction in OspA levels. Growth rates of wt, mt, ct, 7D (csrABb mutant lacking 7 amino acids at the C terminus), and 8S (csrABb with site-specific changes altering its RNA-binding properties) borrelial strains were similar in the presence of acetate. Increased levels of propionate and butyrate reduced the growth rates of all strains tested, with mt and 8S exhibiting profound growth deficits at higher concentrations of propionate. Transcriptional levels of rpoS and ospC were elevated on supplementation of SCFAs compared to those of untreated spirochetes. Immunoblot analysis revealed elevated levels of RpoS, OspC, and DbpA with increased levels of SCFAs. Physiological levels of SCFAs prevalent in select human and rodent fluids were synergistic with mammalian host temperature and pH to increase the levels of aforementioned proteins, which could impact the colonization of B. burgdorferi during the mammalian phase of infection.

KEYWORDS:

Borrelia burgdorferi; Lyme disease; short-chain fatty acids

PMID:
29891543
PMCID:
PMC6105876
DOI:
10.1128/IAI.00217-18
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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