Transcriptomic insights on the virulence-controlling CsrA, BadR, RpoN, and RpoS regulatory networks in the Lyme disease spirochete

William K. Arnold, Christina R. Savage, Kathryn G. Lethbridge, Trever C. Smith, Catherine A. Brissette, Janakiram Seshu, Brian Stevenson

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22 Scopus citations


Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, survives in nature through a cycle that alternates between ticks and vertebrates. To facilitate this defined lifestyle, B. burgdorferi has evolved a gene regulatory network that ensures transmission between those hosts, along with specific adaptations to niches within each host. Several regulatory proteins are known to be essential for the bacterium to complete these critical tasks, but interactions between regulators had not previously been investigated in detail, due to experimental uses of different strain backgrounds and growth conditions. To address that deficit in knowledge, the transcriptomic impacts of four critical regulatory proteins were examined in a uniform strain background. Pairs of mutants and their wild-type parent were grown simultaneously under a single, specific culture condition, permitting direct comparisons between the mutant strains. Transcriptomic analyses were strand-specific, and assayed both coding and noncoding RNAs. Intersection analyses identified regulatory overlaps between regulons, including transcripts involved in carbohydrate and polyamine metabolism. In addition, it was found that transcriptional units such as ospC and dbpBA, which were previously observed to be affected by alternative sigma factors, are transcribed by RNA polymerase using the housekeeping sigma factor, RpoD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0203286
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Arnold et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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