A conservative amino acid change alters the function of BosR, the redox regulator of Borrelia burgdorferi.
ABSTRACT Borrelia burgdorferi, the aetiologic agent of Lyme disease, modulates gene expression in response to changes imposed by its arthropod vector and mammalian hosts. As reactive oxygen species (ROS) are known to vary in these environments, we asked how B. burgdorferi responds to oxidative stress. The B. burgdorferi genome encodes a PerR homologue (recently designated BosR) that represses the oxidative stress response in other bacteria, suggesting a similar function in B. burgdorferi. When we tested the sensitivity of B. burgdorferi to ROS, one clonal non-infectious B. burgdorferi isolate exhibited hypersensitivity to t-butyl hydroperoxide when compared with infectious B. burgdorferi and other non-infectious isolates. Sequence analysis indicated that the hypersensitive non-infectious isolates bosR allele contained a single nucleotide substitution, converting an arginine to a lysine (bosRR39K). Mutants in bosRR39K exhibited an increase in resistance to oxidative stressors when compared with the parental non-infectious strain, suggesting that BosRR39K functioned as a repressor. Complementation with bosRR39K and bosR resulted in differential sensitivity to t-butyl hydroperoxide, indicating that these alleles are functionally distinct. In contrast to BosR, BosRR39K did not activate transcription of a napA promoter-lacZ reporter in Escherichia coli nor bind the napA promoter/operator domain. However, we found that both BosR and BosRR39K bound to the putative promoter/operator region of superoxide dismutase (sodA). In addition, we determined that cells lacking BosRR39K synthesized fourfold greater levels of the decorin binding adhesin DbpA suggesting that BosRR39K regulates genes unrelated to oxidative stress. Based on these data, we propose that the single amino acid substitution, R39K, dramatically alters the activity of BosR by altering its ability to bind DNA at target regulatory sequences.
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ABSTRACT: The temporal synthesis of the P21 protein of Borrelia burgdorferi and the development of the humoral response to this antigen was assessed in infected mice. p21 is a member of the ospE-F gene family and its protein, P21, has been shown to be expressed by B. burgdorferi within infected mice but not by spirochetes cultured in vitro. P21 was not detected on B. burgdorferi in unfed or engorged Ixodes dammini (also known as I. scapularis) ticks, further supporting the postulate that P21 synthesis is specific for the mammalian host. In B. burgdorferi-infected mice, ospE mRNA and OspE antibodies were observed at 7 d, whereas p21 mRNA and P21-specific antibodies were detected at 21-28 d, suggesting that p21 is expressed later than ospE. Moreover, ospA mRNA was not discernible until day 14, indicating that ospA, like p21, is not expressed in the early stages of tick-transmitted murine Lyme borreliosis. Because p21 is expressed during infection in mice, we assessed the human humoral response to P21. 28% (34 of 122) of the patients with either early- or late-stage Lyme disease, and 33% (11 of 33) of the individuals with Lyme arthritis had P21 antibodies, suggesting that a P21 response may serve, at least partially, as a marker of infection. Active immunization with recombinant P21 did not protect C3H mice from tick-borne B. burgdorferi infection, and passive transfer of P21 antiserum to infected mice did not alter the course of disease. These data suggest that the antigenic structure of B. burgdorferi changes during the early stages of murine infection.Journal of Clinical Investigation 04/1997; 99(5):987-95. · 12.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The transcriptional repressor Fur binds to a 19-bp consensus sequence, 5'-GATAATGATAATCATTATC-3', under high iron conditions. The fepDGC-entS promoter of Escherichia coli contains two Fur-binding sites (FBS) offset by 6bp. Genetic studies of this promoter region revealed two mutations that exhibited a loss of iron regulation in vivo. One mutation altered the upstream portion of FBS 1, whereas the other, originally created to improve entS promoter strength, inadvertently altered the downstream portion of FBS 2. In both cases, there remains a 19-bp sequence that by current models should be sufficient for Fur binding. The effect of these mutations on Fur binding was examined using in vitro gel retardation assays and DNase I footprinting experiments. Though Fur bound wild-type DNA with high affinity, its affinity for the mutants was reduced, suggesting that both sites are required. In addition, gel shift studies demonstrated that the Fur-promoter complexes exhibit a unique hierarchy of binding, with distinct species forming at increasing concentrations of Fur. The DNA sequences bound in each gel-shifted species were determined using a coupled gel shift/footprint technique. The data presented here, with previously published data, suggest a new model for Fur-DNA interactions similar to that seen with the transcriptional repressor, DtxR. The model predicts that the 19-bp consensus Fur operator is configured as overlapping 13-mer sequences, and that two Fur dimers interact with these sequences from opposite faces of the helix.Journal of Molecular Biology 11/2002; 322(5):983-95. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, alternates between the microenvironments of the tick vector, Ixodes scapularis, and a mammalian host. The environmental conditions the spirochete encounters during its infectious cycle are suspected to differ greatly in many aspects, including available nutrients, temperature, and pH. Here we identify alterations in the membrane protein profile, as determined by immunoblotting and two-dimensional nonequilibrium pH gradient gel electrophoresis (2D-NEPHGE), that occur in virulent B. burgdorferi B31 as the pH of the medium is altered. Initial comparisons of cultures incubated at pHs 6.0, 7.0, and 8.0 yielded alterations in the expression of seven membrane proteins as determined by probing with hyperimmune rabbit serum. Six of these membrane proteins (54, 45, 44, 43, 35, and 24 kDa) were either present in increased amounts in or solely expressed by cultures incubated at pHs 6.0 and 7.0. The 24-kDa protein that decreased in expression at pH 8.0 was identified as outer surface protein C (OspC). In addition, a 42-kDa membrane protein increased in amount in cultures incubated at pH 8.0. Similar changes were observed with serum from a mouse infected by tick bite, with the recognition of two additional bands (48 and 46 kDa) unique to pHs 6. 0 and 7.0. When membrane fractions were analyzed by 2D-NEPHGE, at least 37 changes in the membrane protein profile between cells incubated at pHs 6.0, 7.0, and 8.0 were observed by immunoblotting and silver staining. Environmental cues such as pH may prove important in the regulation of virulence determinants and factors necessary for the adaptation of B. burgdorferi to the tick or mammalian microcosm.Infection and Immunity 08/1999; 67(7):3181-7. · 4.07 Impact Factor