Global Tn-seq analysis of carbohydrate utilization and vertebrate infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi.
ABSTRACT: Borrelia burgdorferi maintains a complex life cycle between tick and vertebrate hosts. Although some genes have been identified as contributing to bacterial adaptation in the different hosts, the list is incomplete. In this manuscript, we report the first use of transposon mutagenesis combined with high-throughput sequencing (Tn-seq) in B. burgdorferi. We utilize the technique to investigate mechanisms of carbohydrate utilization in B. burgdorferi and the role of carbohydrate metabolism during mouse infection. We performed genetic fitness analyses to identify genes encoding factors contributing to growth on glucose, maltose, mannose, trehalose and N-acetyl-glucosamine. We obtained insight into the potential functions of proteins predicted to be involved in carbohydrate utilization and identified additional factors previously unrecognized as contributing to the metabolism of the tested carbohydrates. Strong phenotypes were observed for the putative carbohydrate phosphotransferase transporters BB0408 and BBB29 as well as the response regulator Rrp1. We further validated Tn-seq for use in mouse studies and were able to correctly identify known infectivity factors as well as additional transporters and genes on lp54 that may contribute to optimal mouse infection. As such, this study establishes Tn-seq as a powerful method for both in vitro and in vivo studies of B. burgdorferi.
Project description:Transcriptional profiling of gene expression between parental strain B31 and rrp1 mutant. Cyclic-di-GMP is a bacterial second messenger that modulates many biological processes. Although its role in bacterial pathogenesis during mammalian infection has been widely recognized, the role of c-di-GMP in pathogen's life cycle in vector hosts is less understood. The enzootic cycle of the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi involves both a mammalian host and an Ixodes tick vector. The B. burgdorferi genome encodes a single copy of the diguanylate cyclase gene (rrp1), which is responsible for the production of c-di-GMP. To determine the role of c-di-GMP in the life cycle of B. burgdorferi, an Rrp1-deficient B. burgdorferi strain was generated. The rrp1 mutant remains infectious in the mammalian host, but could not survive in the tick vector. To identify the mechanisms of Rrp1 contributing to B. burgdorferi pathogenesis and gene regulation, microarray was employed to compare gene expression profiles between the parental strain B31 and the rrp1 mutant. Overall design: Two-condition experiment, B31 vs. rrp1 mutant. Biological replicates: 3 B31, 3 rrp1 mutant, independently grown and harvested. One replicate (dye-swap) per array.
Project description:Transcriptional profiling of gene expression between parental strain B31 and rrp1 mutant. Cyclic-di-GMP is a bacterial second messenger that modulates many biological processes. Although its role in bacterial pathogenesis during mammalian infection has been widely recognized, the role of c-di-GMP in pathogen's life cycle in vector hosts is less understood. The enzootic cycle of the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi involves both a mammalian host and an Ixodes tick vector. The B. burgdorferi genome encodes a single copy of the diguanylate cyclase gene (rrp1), which is responsible for the production of c-di-GMP. To determine the role of c-di-GMP in the life cycle of B. burgdorferi, an Rrp1-deficient B. burgdorferi strain was generated. The rrp1 mutant remains infectious in the mammalian host, but could not survive in the tick vector. To identify the mechanisms of Rrp1 contributing to B. burgdorferi pathogenesis and gene regulation, microarray was employed to compare gene expression profiles between the parental strain B31 and the rrp1 mutant. Two-condition experiment, B31 vs. rrp1 mutant. Biological replicates: 3 B31, 3 rrp1 mutant, independently grown and harvested. One replicate (dye-swap) per array.
Project description:Life cycle alternation between arthropod and mammals forces the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, to adapt to different host milieus by utilizing diverse carbohydrates. Glycerol and chitobiose are abundantly present in the Ixodes tick. B. burgdorferi can utilize glycerol as a carbohydrate source for glycolysis and chitobiose to produce N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), a key component of the bacterial cell wall. A recent study reported that Rrp1, a response regulator that synthesizes cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP), governs glycerol utilization in B. burgdorferi. In this report, we found that the rrp1 mutant had growth defects and formed membrane blebs that led to cell lysis when GlcNAc was replaced by chitobiose in the growth medium. The gene chbC encodes a key chitobiose transporter of B. burgdorferi. We found that the expression level of chbC was significantly repressed in the mutant and that constitutive expression of chbC in the mutant successfully rescued the growth defect, indicating a regulatory role of Rrp1 in chitobiose uptake. Immunoblotting and transcriptional studies revealed that Rrp1 is required for the activation of bosR and rpoS and that its impact on chbC is most likely mediated by the BosR-RpoS regulatory pathway. Tick-mouse infection studies showed that although the rrp1 mutant failed to establish infection in mice via tick bite, exogenous supplementation of GlcNAc into unfed ticks partially rescued the infection. The finding reported here provides us with new insight into the regulatory role of Rrp1 in carbohydrate utilization and virulence of B. burgdorferi.
Project description:Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease in humans, is exposed to reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS) in both the tick vector and vertebrate reservoir hosts. B. burgdorferi contains a limited repertoire of canonical oxidative stress response genes, suggesting that novel gene functions may be important for protection of B. burgdorferi against ROS or RNS exposure. Here, we use transposon insertion sequencing (Tn-seq) to conduct an unbiased search for genes involved in resistance to nitric oxide, hydrogen peroxide, and tertiary-butyl hydroperoxide in vitro. The screens identified 66 genes whose disruption resulted in increased susceptibility to at least one of the stressors. These genes include previously characterized mediators of ROS and RNS resistance (including components of the nucleotide excision repair pathway and a subunit of a riboflavin transporter), as well as novel putative resistance candidates. DNA repair mutants were among the most sensitive to RNS in the Tn-seq screen, and survival assays with individual Tn mutants confirmed that the putative ribonuclease BB0839 is involved in resistance to nitric oxide. In contrast, mutants lacking predicted inner membrane proteins or transporters were among the most sensitive to ROS, and the contribution of three such membrane proteins (BB0017, BB0164, and BB0202) to ROS sensitivity was confirmed using individual Tn mutants and complemented strains. Further analysis showed that levels of intracellular manganese are significantly reduced in the Tn::bb0164 mutant, identifying a novel role for BB0164 in B. burgdorferi manganese homeostasis. Infection of C57BL/6 and gp91phox-/- mice with a mini-library of 39 Tn mutants showed that many of the genes identified in the in vitro screens are required for infectivity in mice. Collectively, our data provide insight into how B. burgdorferi responds to ROS and RNS and suggests that this response is relevant to the in vivo success of the organism.
Project description:Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease in humans, is maintained in a complex biphasic life cycle, which alternates between tick and vertebrate hosts. To successfully survive and complete its enzootic cycle, B. burgdorferi adapts to diverse hosts by regulating genes required for survival in specific environments. Here we describe the first ever use of transposon insertion sequencing (Tn-seq) to identify genes required for B. burgdorferi survival in its tick host. We found that insertions into 46 genes resulted in a complete loss of recovery of mutants from larval Ixodes ticks. Insertions in an additional 56 genes resulted in a >90% decrease in fitness. The screen identified both previously known and new genes important for larval tick survival. Almost half of the genes required for survival in the tick encode proteins of unknown function, while a significant portion (over 20%) encode membrane-associated proteins or lipoproteins. We validated the results of the screen for five Tn mutants by performing individual competition assays using mutant and complemented strains. To better understand the role of one of these genes in tick survival, we conducted mechanistic studies of bb0017, a gene previously shown to be required for resistance against oxidative stress. In this study we show that BB0017 affects the regulation of key borrelial virulence determinants. The application of Tn-seq to in vivo screening of B. burgdorferi in its natural vector is a powerful tool that can be used to address many different aspects of the host pathogen interaction.
Project description:Rrp1 is the sole c-di-GMP-producing protein (diguanylate cyclase) of Borrelia burgdorferi. To test the hypothesis that Rrp1 regulates critical processes involved in the transmission of spirochetes between ticks and mammals, an rrp1 deletion mutant (B31-?rrp1) and a strain that constitutively produces elevated levels of Rrp1 (B31-OV) were constructed. The strains were assessed for progression through the enzootic cycle using an Ixodes tick/C3H-HeJ mouse model and tick immersion feeding methods. B31-?rrp1 infected mice as efficiently as wild type but had altered motility, decreased chemotactic responses to N-acetylglucosamine (NAG) and attenuated ability to disseminate or colonize distal organs. While this strain infected mice, it was not able to survive in ticks. In contrast, B31-OV displayed normal motility patterns and chemotactic responses but was non-infectious in mice. Using immersion feeding techniques, we demonstrate that B31-OV can establish a population in ticks and survive exposure to a natural bloodmeal. The results presented here indicate Rrp1, and by extension, c-di-GMP, are not strictly required for murine infection, but are required for the successful establishment of a productive population of B. burgdorferi in ticks. These analyses provide significant new insight into the genetic regulatory mechanisms of the Lyme disease spirochetes.
Project description:Cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP) is a bacterial second messenger that modulates many biological processes. Although its role in bacterial pathogenesis during mammalian infection has been documented, the role of c-di-GMP in a pathogen's life cycle within a vector host is less understood. The enzootic cycle of the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi involves both a mammalian host and an Ixodes tick vector. The B. burgdorferi genome encodes a single copy of the diguanylate cyclase gene (rrp1), which is responsible for c-di-GMP synthesis. To determine the role of c-di-GMP in the life cycle of B. burgdorferi, an Rrp1-deficient B. burgdorferi strain was generated. The rrp1 mutant remains infectious in the mammalian host but cannot survive in the tick vector. Microarray analyses revealed that expression of a four-gene operon involved in glycerol transport and metabolism, bb0240-bb0243, was significantly downregulated by abrogation of Rrp1. In vitro, the rrp1 mutant is impaired in growth in the media containing glycerol as the carbon source (BSK-glycerol). To determine the contribution of the glycerol metabolic pathway to the rrp1 mutant phenotype, a glp mutant, in which the entire bb0240-bb0243 operon is not expressed, was generated. Similar to the rrp1 mutant, the glp mutant has a growth defect in BSK-glycerol medium. In vivo, the glp mutant is also infectious in mice but has reduced survival in ticks. Constitutive expression of the bb0240-bb0243 operon in the rrp1 mutant fully rescues the growth defect in BSK-glycerol medium and partially restores survival of the rrp1 mutant in ticks. Thus, c-di-GMP appears to govern a catabolic switch in B. burgdorferi and plays a vital role in the tick part of the spirochetal enzootic cycle. This work provides the first evidence that c-di-GMP is essential for a pathogen's survival in its vector host.
Project description:BBA03 is a Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface lipoprotein encoded on one of the most conserved plasmids in Borrelia genome, linear plasmid 54 (lp54). Although many of its genes have been identified as contributing or essential for spirochete fitness in vivo, the majority of the proteins encoded on this plasmid have no known function and lack homologs in other organisms. In this paper, we report the solution NMR structure of the B. burgdorferi outer surface lipoprotein BBA03, which is known to provide a competitive advantage to the bacteria during the transmission from tick vector to mammalian host. BBA03 shows structural homology to other outer surface lipoproteins reflecting their genetic and evolutionary relatedness. Analysis of the structure reveals a pore in BBA03, which could potentially bind lipids.
Project description:Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease spirochete, couples environmental sensing and gene regulation primarily via the Hk1/Rrp1 two-component system (TCS) and Rrp2/RpoN/RpoS pathways. Beginning with acquisition, we reevaluated the contribution of these pathways to spirochete survival and gene regulation throughout the enzootic cycle. Live imaging of B. burgdorferi caught in the act of being acquired revealed that the absence of RpoS and the consequent derepression of tick-phase genes impart a Stay signal required for midgut colonization. In addition to the behavioral changes brought on by the RpoS-off state, acquisition requires activation of cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) synthesis by the Hk1/Rrp1 TCS; B. burgdorferi lacking either component is destroyed during the blood meal. Prior studies attributed this dramatic phenotype to a metabolic lesion stemming from reduced glycerol uptake and utilization. In a head-to-head comparison, however, the B. burgdorferi ?glp mutant had a markedly greater capacity to survive tick feeding than B. burgdorferi ?hk1 or ?rrp1 mutants, establishing unequivocally that glycerol metabolism is only one component of the protection afforded by c-di-GMP. Data presented herein suggest that the protective response mediated by c-di-GMP is multifactorial, involving chemotactic responses, utilization of alternate substrates for energy generation and intermediary metabolism, and remodeling of the cell envelope as a means of defending spirochetes against threats engendered during the blood meal. Expression profiling of c-di-GMP-regulated genes through the enzootic cycle supports our contention that the Hk1/Rrp1 TCS functions primarily, if not exclusively, in ticks. These data also raise the possibility that c-di-GMP enhances the expression of a subset of RpoS-dependent genes during nymphal transmission.
Project description:Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, is a vector-borne illness that requires the bacteria to adapt to distinctly different environments in its tick vector and various mammalian hosts. Effective colonization (acquisition phase) of a tick requires the bacteria to adapt to tick midgut physiology. Successful transmission (transmission phase) to a mammal requires the bacteria to sense and respond to the midgut environmental cues and up-regulate key virulence factors before transmission to a new host. Data presented here suggest that one environmental signal that appears to affect both phases of the infective cycle is osmolarity. While constant in the blood, interstitial fluid and tissue of a mammalian host (300 mOsm), osmolarity fluctuates in the midgut of feeding Ixodes scapularis. Measured osmolarity of the blood meal isolated from the midgut of a feeding tick fluctuates from an initial osmolarity of 600 mOsm to blood-like osmolarity of 300 mOsm. After feeding, the midgut osmolarity rebounded to 600 mOsm. Remarkably, these changes affect the two independent regulatory networks that promote acquisition (Hk1-Rrp1) and transmission (Rrp2-RpoN-RpoS) of B. burgdorferi. Increased osmolarity affected morphology and motility of wild-type strains, and lysed Hk1 and Rrp1 mutant strains. At low osmolarity, Borrelia cells express increased levels of RpoN-RpoS-dependent virulence factors (OspC, DbpA) required for the mammalian infection. Our results strongly suggest that osmolarity is an important part of the recognized signals that allow the bacteria to adjust gene expression during the acquisition and transmission phases of the infective cycle of B. burgdorferi.