ROLE OF BB0418 IN THE PATHOGENESIS OF BORRELIA BURGDORFERI
Antonio Contreras, Janakiram Seshu.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.
Lyme disease is a common vector-borne disease in the U.S. with more than 300,000 cases reported in 2013. The agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, is a spirochetal pathogen that is transmitted to humans and other domestic animals via the bite of infected Ixodes scapularis ticks. B. burgdorferi has the ability to metabolize different compounds present in the ticks and vertebrate hosts. Bioinformatic analysis of the borrelial genome revealed that B. burgdorferi has an open reading frame designated BB0418 that may express an outer membrane transport protein specific for the transport/permeability of organic anions, notably C4-dicarboxylates. Previously, our laboratory has shown that supplementation of key nutrients in the media altered the antigenic profile of the agent of Lyme disease, and we have expanded the analysis of a select set of proteins with structural capabilities for localization in the outer membrane of B. burgdorferi. In order to further dissect the role of this protein, we over-expressed BB0418 and generated antisera in mice. A deletion construct to replace bb0418 has been generated, and we are in the process of replacing bb0418 with a streptomycin resistance marker and evaluating the role of bb0418 in the pathogenic mechanisms of the agent of Lyme disease. Analysis of the mutants in the C3H/HeN mouse model of Lyme disease and in the tick-mouse model will help delineate the role of BB0418 in the pathogenesis of B. burgdorferi.