The Lyme disease spirochete's BpuR DNA/RNA-binding protein is differentially expressed during the mammal–tick infectious cycle, which affects translation of the SodA superoxide dismutase

Brandon L. Jutras, Christina R. Savage, William K. Arnold, Kathryn G. Lethbridge, Dustin W. Carroll, Kit Tilly, Aaron Bestor, Haining Zhu, Janakiram Seshu, Wolfram R. Zückert, Philip E. Stewart, Patricia A. Rosa, Catherine A. Brissette, Brian Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

When the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, transfers from a feeding tick into a human or other vertebrate host, the bacterium produces vertebrate-specific proteins and represses factors needed for arthropod colonization. Previous studies determined that the B. burgdorferi BpuR protein binds to its own mRNA and autoregulates its translation, and also serves as co-repressor of erp transcription. Here, we demonstrate that B. burgdorferi controls transcription of bpuR, expressing high levels of bpuR during tick colonization but significantly less during mammalian infection. The master regulator of chromosomal replication, DnaA, was found to bind specifically to a DNA sequence that overlaps the bpuR promoter. Cultured B. burgdorferi that were genetically manipulated to produce elevated levels of BpuR exhibited altered levels of several proteins, although BpuR did not impact mRNA levels. Among these was the SodA superoxide dismutase, which is essential for mammalian infection. BpuR bound to sodA mRNA in live B. burgdorferi, and a specific BpuR-binding site was mapped 5′ of the sodA open reading frame. Recognition of posttranscriptional regulation of protein levels by BpuR adds another layer to our understanding of the B. burgdorferi regulome, and provides further evidence that bacterial protein levels do not always correlate directly with mRNA levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-991
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Volume112
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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