How do Lyme Borrelia Organisms Cause Disease? The Quest for Virulence Determinants#



Steven J Norris*
Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, University of Texas, Medical School at Houston, P.O. Box 20708, Houston, TX, 77225-0708, U.S.A


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© Steven J. Norris; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, University of Texas, Medical School at Houston, P.O. Box 20708, Houston, TX, 77225-0708, U.S.A.; Tel: 713-500-5338; Fax: 713-500-0730; E-mail: Steven.J.Norris@uth.tmc.edu


Abstract

Lyme disease Borrelia are invasive, nontoxigenic, persistent pathogens, and little is known about their mechanisms of pathogenesis. In our laboratory, a signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM) library of over 4,000 Borrelia burgdorferi transposon mutants has been constructed and is being screened for infectivity in mice. In this manner, a global view of the virulence determinants (factors required for full infectivity) is being developed. Additionally, the mechanisms of immune evasion involving the VMP-like system (vls) are under analysis, and cryo-electron microscopy is providing a detailed view of the three-dimensional structure of B. burgdorferi. These approaches will contribute to the improved understanding of how Lyme disease Borrelia cause disease.

Keywords:: Lyme borreliosis, Borrelia burgdorferi, virulence determinants, transposon mutagenesis, antigenic variation.