Essential role for OspA/B in the life cycle of the Lyme disease spirochete.
ABSTRACT: The molecular basis of how Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the Lyme disease spirochete, maintains itself in nature via a complex life cycle in ticks and mammals is poorly understood. Outer surface (lipo)protein A (OspA) of Bb has been the most intensively studied of all borrelial molecular constituents, and hence, much has been speculated about the potential role(s) of OspA in the life cycle of Bb. However, the precise function of OspA (along with that of its close relative and operonic partner, outer surface [lipo]protein B [OspB]) heretofore has not been directly determined, due primarily to the inability to generate an OspA/B-deficient mutant from a virulent strain of Bb. In this study, we created an OspA/B-deficient mutant of an infectious human isolate of Bb (strain 297) and found that OspA/B function was not required for either Bb infection of mice or accompanying tissue pathology. However, OspA/B function was essential for Bb colonization of and survival within tick midguts, events crucial for sustaining Bb in its natural enzootic life cycle.
Project description:Borrelia burgdorferi, a Lyme disease agent, makes different major outer surface lipoproteins at different stages of its mouse-tick infectious cycle. Outer surface protein A (OspA) coats the spirochetes from the time they enter ticks until they are transmitted to a mammal. OspA is required for normal tick colonization and has been shown to bind a tick midgut protein, indicating that OspA may serve as a tick midgut adhesin. Tick colonization by spirochetes lacking OspA is increased when the infecting blood meal is derived from mice that do not produce antibody, indicating that OspA may protect the spirochetes from host antibody, which will not recognize tick-specific proteins such as OspA. To further study the importance of OspA during tick colonization, we constructed a form of B. burgdorferi in which the ospA open reading frame, on lp54, was replaced with the ospC gene or the ospB gene, encoding a mammal-specific or tick-specific lipoprotein, respectively. These fusions yielded a strain that produces OspC within a tick (from the fusion gene) and during early mammalian infection (from the normal ospC locus) and a strain that produces OspB in place of OspA within ticks. Here we show that the related, tick-specific protein OspB can fully substitute for OspA, whereas the unrelated, mammal-specific protein OspC cannot. These data were derived from three different methods of infecting ticks, and they confirm and extend previous studies indicating that OspA both protects spirochetes within ticks from mammalian antibody and serves an additional role during tick colonization.
Project description:The nucleotide sequence of a 1.6-kb clone containing the gene for outer surface protein A (OspA) of a German strain (GO2) of Borrelia burgdorferi was determined. The deduced amino acid sequence showed a homology of 82% to the OspA molecules from three other B. burgdorferi strains. The best-conserved region was recognized at the 36-amino-terminal amino acids of OspA. OspB could not be identified in the strain investigated, probably because the nucleotide sequence of the ospAB operon prevented expression of the OspB gene.
Project description:Previously, it has been shown that polyclonal antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi and some monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to borrelia major surface proteins caused inhibition of adherence of the bacteria to cultured human umbilical vein endothelial (HUVE) cells. In this study, fragment antigen binding (Fab) molecules generated from the immunoglobulin G fraction of rabbit anti-recombinant OspA serum were found to inhibit the adherence of B. burgdorferi to HUVE cells by 73%. Subsequently, MAbs were generated for use in determining whether or how B. burgdorferi outer surface proteins (Osps) A and/or B are involved in mediating attachment to, and/or invasion of, HUVE cells by B. burgdorferi. Twenty-two MAbs were generated to borrelial proteins with apparent molecular masses (determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) of 19, 31 (OspA), 34 (OspB), and 35 kDa. Fab molecules from one anti-OspA MAb, 9B3D, demonstrated an inhibitory effect on bacterial association with HUVE cells. None of the other MAbs, including the other anti-OspA MAbs, showed an inhibitory effect on cell association of greater than 5%. This effect of Fab 9B3D was concentration dependent and plateaued at approximately 6 micrograms of Fab per ml (nearly 80% inhibition of the bacterial association with the monolayer). Penetration assays and cell association experiments performed by using immunofluorescence also suggested that the inhibitory action of 9B3D occurs at the level of adherence. MAb 9B3D recognized the OspA of every North American strain tested (n = 19) but only 3 [corrected] of 20 strains from western Europe, Russia, and Japan, suggesting that the North American strains and strains from other parts of the world may use different molecules and/or different OspA epitopes to interact with endothelial cells. Immunoblots of Escherichia coli expressing different OspA fusion peptides suggested that the 9B3D epitope resides in the carboxy-terminal half of OspA. MAb 9B3D promises to be a valuable tool for elucidating the domain or domains of OspA involved in the endothelial cell cytadherence of North American strains of B. burgdorferi.
Project description:A mutant of virulent Borrelia burgdorferi 297 was apparently selected for by long-term storage at 5 degrees C. This mutant was found to lack the plasmid which encodes outer surface protein A (OspA) and OspB. In addition to the loss of the OspA and OspB proteins, the mutant lacked two lipoproteins, of 20 and 7.5 kDa, that were observed in the wild type. Since the mutant was not recovered from the tissues or blood of hamsters injected with the mutant, the mutant was determined to be noninfectious. Hamsters vaccinated with noninfectious mutant 297 were protected completely from challenge with virulent wild-type 297 spirochetes. Prechallenge sera from hamsters vaccinated with mutant 297 lacked antibodies to OspA and OspB, while those from hamsters vaccinated with virulent wild-type 297 or avirulent 297 exhibited antibodies to these proteins. Hamsters vaccinated with virulent wild-type 297 or mutant 297 elicited antibodies to OspC and a 39-kDa protein (P39), whereas hamsters vaccinated with avirulent 297 lacked these antibodies. These results suggest that OspC and/or P39 are important for the development of a protective immune response. Study of this mutant may elucidate factors important to the development of a Lyme disease vaccine.
Project description:Borrelia burgdorferi contains unique cholesterol-glycolipid-rich lipid rafts that are associated with lipoproteins. These complexes suggest the existence of macromolecular structures that have not been reported for prokaryotes. Outer surface lipoproteins OspA, OspB, and OspC were studied for their participation in the formation of lipid rafts. Single-gene deletion mutants with deletions of ospA, ospB, and ospC and a spontaneous gene mutant, strain B313, which does not express OspA and OspB, were used to establish their structural roles in the lipid rafts. All mutant strains used in this study produced detergent-resistant membranes, a common characteristic of lipid rafts, and had similar lipid and protein slot blot profiles. Lipoproteins OspA and OspB but not OspC were shown to be associated with lipid rafts by transmission electron microscopy. When the ability to form lipid rafts in live B. burgdorferi spirochetes was measured by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), strain B313 showed a statistically significant lower level of segregation into ordered and disordered membrane domains than did the wild-type and the other single-deletion mutants. The transformation of a B313 strain with a shuttle plasmid containing ospA restored the phenotype shared by the wild type and the single-deletion mutants, demonstrating that OspA and OspB have redundant functions. In contrast, a transformed B313 overexpressing OspC neither rescued the FRET nor colocalized with the lipid rafts. Because these lipoproteins are expressed at different stages of the life cycle of B. burgdorferi, their selective association is likely to have an important role in the structure of prokaryotic lipid rafts and in the organism's adaptation to changing environments. IMPORTANCE Lipid rafts are cholesterol-rich clusters within the membranes of cells. Lipid rafts contain proteins that have functions in sensing the cell environment and transmitting signals. Although selective proteins are present in lipid rafts, little is known about their structural contribution to these domains. Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease, has lipid rafts, which are novel structures in bacteria. Here, we have shown that the raft-associated lipoproteins OspA and OspB selectively contribute to lipid rafts. A similar but non-raft-associated lipoprotein, OspC, cannot substitute for the role of OspA and OspB. In this study, we have demonstrated that lipoprotein association with lipid rafts is selective, further suggesting a functional adaptation to different stages of the spirochete life cycle. The results of this study are of broader importance and can serve as a model for other bacteria that also possess cholesterol in their membranes and, therefore, may share lipid raft traits with Borrelia.
Project description:As an initial attempt to investigate the possible role of outer surface protein A (OspA) escape mutants of Borrelia burgdorferi in decreasing the efficacy of the OspA vaccine, mutants of the HB19 strain of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto were selected in vitro from an uncloned, low-passage-number isolate. The antiserum used for selection was obtained from rhesus monkeys that had been given a vaccine of the same formulation and dose, and by the same route of administration, as that given to humans in several trials. All of the mutants selected in liquid medium and subsequently cloned twice in solid medium expressed a single abundant protein of 28 to 34 kDa instead of both OspA and OspB. Depending on the mutant, this protein reacted strongly, weakly, or not detectably with the anti-OspA antibody used for selection. Analysis of the ospAB locus of each of four representatives from these three groups of mutants by PCR with oligonucleotide primers that hybridize to flanking regions of the ospAB operon, and of the corresponding phenotype with monoclonal antibodies that bind to the amino or carboxyl terminus of the OspA or OspB polypeptide, indicated that in all cases a deletion within the operon had occurred. Spirochetes from the four mutant strains chosen for further analysis could be killed in antibody-dependent, complement-mediated killing assays with the selecting anti-OspA antibody, despite their resistance to killing with this antibody in the absence of complement. Complement-mediated killing occurred at an antibody concentration higher than that required to kill wild-type spirochetes. If anti-OspA antibody acts only within the tick, where complement is probably ineffective due to tick-derived decomplementing factors, then OspA escape mutants, if infectious, could seriously diminish the efficacy of OspA vaccines. On the other hand, if the killing of B. burgdorferi with anti-OspA antibody also takes place within the human host, then our results indicate that chimeric/deletion escape mutants will be killed as well.
Project description:Survival of Borrelia burgdorferi in ticks and mammals is facilitated, at least in part, by the selective expression of lipoproteins. Outer surface protein (Osp) A participates in spirochete adherence to the tick gut. As ospB is expressed on a bicistronic operon with ospA, we have now investigated the role of OspB by generating an OspB-deficient B. burgdorferi and examining its phenotype throughout the spirochete life cycle. Similar to wild-type isolates, the OspB-deficient B. burgdorferi were able to readily infect and persist in mice. OspB-deficient B. burgdorferi were capable of migrating to the feeding ticks but had an impaired ability to adhere to the tick gut and survive within the vector. Furthermore, the OspB-deficient B. burgdorferi bound poorly to tick gut extracts. The complementation of the OspB-deficient spirochete in trans, with a wild-type copy of ospB gene, restored its ability to bind tick gut. Taken together, these data suggest that OspB has an important role within Ixodes scapularis and that B. burgdorferi relies upon multiple genes to efficiently persist in ticks.
Project description:Lyme borreliosis is the most widespread vector-borne disease in temperate zones of Europe and North America. Although the infection is treatable, the symptoms are often overlooked resulting in infection of the neuronal system. In this work we uncover the underlying molecular mechanism of borrelial translocation across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We demonstrate that neuroinvasive strain of Borrelia readily crosses monolayer of brain-microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) in vitro and BBB in vivo. Using protein-protein interaction assays we found that CD40 of BMECs and OspA of Borrelia are the primary molecules in transient tethering of Borrelia to endothelium. OspA of neuroinvasive Borrelia, but not of non-neuroinvasive strain, binds CD40. Furthermore, only the neuroinvasive Borrelia and its recombinant OspA activated CD40-dependent pathway in BMECs and induced expression of integrins essential for stationary adhesion. Demonstration of the CD40-ligand interactions may provide a new possible perspective on molecular mechanisms of borrelial BBB translocation process.
Project description:The Borrelia burgdorferi outer membrane (OM) contains numerous surface-exposed lipoproteins but a relatively low density of integral OM proteins (OMPs). Few membrane-spanning OMPs of B. burgdorferi have been definitively identified, and none are well characterized structurally. Here, we provide evidence that the borrelial OMP P66, a known adhesin with pore-forming activity, forms a ?-barrel in the B. burgdorferi OM. Multiple computer-based algorithms predict that P66 forms a ?-barrel with either 22 or 24 transmembrane domains. According to our predicted P66 topology, a lysine residue (K487) known to be sensitive to trypsin cleavage is located within a surface-exposed loop. When we aligned the mature P66 amino acid sequences from B. burgdorferi and B. garinii, we found that K487 was present only in the B. burgdorferi P66 protein sequence. When intact cells from each strain were treated with trypsin, only B. burgdorferi P66 was trypsin sensitive, indicating that K487 is surface exposed, as predicted. Consistent with this observation, when we inserted a c-Myc tag adjacent to K487 and utilized surface localization immunofluorescence, we detected the loop containing K487 on the surface of B. burgdorferi. P66 was examined by both Triton X-114 phase partitioning and circular dichroism, confirming that the protein is amphiphilic and contains extensive (48%) ?-sheets, respectively. Moreover, P66 also was able to incorporate into liposomes and form channels in large unilamellar vesicles. Finally, blue native PAGE (BN-PAGE) revealed that under nondenaturing conditions, P66 is found in large complexes of ?400 kDa and ?600 kDa. Outer surface lipoprotein A (OspA) and OspB both coimmunoprecipitate with P66, demonstrating that P66 associates with OspA and OspB in B. burgdorferi. The combined computer-based structural analyses and supporting physicochemical properties of P66 provide a working model to further examine the porin and integrin-binding activities of this OMP as they relate to B. burgdorferi physiology and Lyme disease pathogenesis.
Project description:We used polyclonal antisera and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to inhibit the growth of clonal populations of two strains of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease agent, and thereby select for antibody-resistant mutants. mAbs were directed at the outer membrane proteins, OspA or OspB. Mutants resistant to the growth-inhibiting properties of the antibodies were present in the populations at frequencies ranging from 10(-5) to 10(-2). The several escape variants that were examined were of four classes. Class I mutants were resistant to all mAbs; they lacked OspA and OspB and the linear plasmid that encodes them. Two other proteins were expressed in larger amounts in class I mutants; mAbs to these proteins inhibited the mutant but not the wild-type cells. Class II mutants were resistant to some but not all mAbs; they had truncated OspA and/or OspB proteins. Class III mutants were resistant only to the selecting mAb; they had full-length Osp proteins that were not bound by the selecting antibody in Western blots. In two class III mutants resistant to different anti-OspA mAbs, missense mutations were demonstrated in the ospA genes. Class IV mutants were likewise resistant only to selecting antibody, but in this case the selecting antibody still bound in Western blots.