Borrelia burgdorferi expression of the bba64, bba65, bba66, and bba73 genes in tissues during persistent infection in mice.

 Microb Pathog. 2008 Sep 20. Borrelia burgdorferi expression of the bba64, bba65, bba66, 
and bba73 genes in tissues during persistent infection in mice. Gilmore RD Jr, Howison RR, 
Schmit VL, Carroll JA.
Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3150 
Rampart Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA.
Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiological agent of Lyme disease in humans, is vectored between 
mammalian hosts in nature by Ixodes ticks. The organism adapts to diverse environments 
encountered throughout the enzootic cycle by differentially expressing essential gene 
products to survive the specialized conditions, whether in ticks or warm-blooded hosts. Ho 
77wever, little is known regarding the identity and/or function of B. burgdorferi genes expressed 
during colonization of tissues during mammalian infection. Experimental evidence has shown 
that a group of genes, formerly classified as paralogous gene family 54, contiguously localized on 
the 54-kilobase linear plasmid of B. burgdorferi, are among the most highly regulated by in vitro
conditions resembling mammalian infection. In this study, we employed quantitative reverse 
transcription-PCR to measure temporal gene expression of a subset of this B. burgdorferi gene 
family, bba64, bba65, bba66, and bba73, in tissues during chronic murine infection. The goal was 
to gain insight into the role of these genes in infectivity and pathogenesis by identifying when the 
genes are induced and whether they are expressed in specific target tissues. B. burgdorferi bba64, 
bba65, bba66, and bba73 expression was measured from infected mouse tissues relative to 
expression in in vitro culture conditions at specific times post-infection. bba64 expression was 
highly upregulated in bladder, heart, and spleen tissues throughout the infection period, 
contrasting with the sharp downregulation previously observed in ear tissues. bba65, bba66, and 
bba73 demonstrated upregulated differential expression in various tissues over 1year 
post-infection. These results suggest an essential role for these genes in borrelial survival, 
persistence, and/or pathogenesis




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