Project description:Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in North America. The etiological agent is the spirochete Borreliella burgdorferi, transmitted to mammalian hosts by the Ixodes tick. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of cases of Lyme disease. Currently, there is no vaccine on the market for human use. We describe the development of a novel synthetically engineered DNA vaccine, pLD1 targeting the outer-surface protein A (OspA) of Borreliella burgdorferi. Immunization of C3 H/HeN mice with pLD1 elicits robust humoral and cellular immune responses that confer complete protection against a live Borreliella burgdorferi bacterial challenge. We also assessed intradermal (ID) delivery of pLD1 in Hartley guinea pigs, demonstrating the induction of robust and durable humoral immunity that lasts at least 1 year. We provide evidence of the potency of pLD1 by showing that antibodies targeting the OspA epitopes which have been associated with protection are prominently raised in the immunized guinea pigs. The described study provides the basis for the advancement of pDL1 as a potential vaccine for Lyme disease control.
Project description:In prokaryotes, members of the High Temperature Requirement A (HtrA) family of serine proteases function in the periplasm to degrade damaged or improperly folded membrane proteins. Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease, codes for a single HtrA homolog. Two-dimensional electrophoresis analysis of B. burgdorferi?B31A3 and a strain that overexpresses HtrA (A3HtrAOE) identified a downregulated protein in A3HtrAOE with a mass, pI and MALDI-TOF spectrum consistent with outer membrane protein p66. P66 and HtrA from cellular lysates partitioned into detergent-resistant membranes, which contain cholesterol-glycolipid-rich membrane regions known as lipid rafts, suggesting that HtrA and p66 may reside together in lipid rafts also. This agrees with previous work from our laboratory, which showed that HtrA and p66 are constituents of B. burgdorferi outer membrane vesicles. HtrA degraded p66 in vitro and A3HtrAOE expressed reduced levels of p66 in vivo. Fluorescence confocal microscopy revealed that HtrA and p66 colocalize in the membrane. The association of HtrA and p66 establishes that they could interact efficiently and their protease/substrate relationship provides functional relevance to this interaction. A3HtrAOE also showed reduced levels of p66 transcript in comparison with wild-type B31A3, indicating that HtrA-mediated regulation of p66 may occur at multiple levels.
Project description:Like all diderm bacteria studied to date, Borrelia burgdorferi possesses a ?-barrel assembly machine (BAM) complex. The bacterial BAM complexes characterized thus far consist of an essential integral outer membrane protein designated BamA and one or more accessory proteins. The accessory proteins are typically lipid-modified proteins anchored to the inner leaflet of the outer membrane through their lipid moieties. We previously identified and characterized the B. burgdorferi BamA protein in detail and more recently identified two lipoproteins encoded by open reading frames bb0324 and bb0028 that associate with the borrelial BamA protein. The role(s) of the BAM accessory lipoproteins in B. burgdorferi is currently unknown.Structural modeling of B. burgdorferi BB0028 revealed a distinct ?-propeller fold similar to the known structure for the E. coli BAM accessory lipoprotein BamB. Additionally, the structural model for BB0324 was highly similar to the known structure of BamD, which is consistent with the prior finding that BB0324 contains tetratricopeptide repeat regions similar to other BamD orthologs. Consistent with BB0028 and BB0324 being BAM accessory lipoproteins, mutants lacking expression of each protein were found to exhibit altered membrane permeability and enhanced sensitivity to various antimicrobials. Additionally, BB0028 mutants also exhibited significantly impaired in vitro growth. Finally, immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that BB0028 and BB0324 each interact specifically and independently with BamA to form the BAM complex in B. burgdorferi.Combined structural studies, functional assays, and co-immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed that BB0028 and BB0324 are the respective BamB and BamD orthologs in B. burgdorferi, and are important in membrane integrity and/or outer membrane protein localization. The borrelial BamB and BamD proteins both interact specifically and independently with BamA to form a tripartite BAM complex in B. burgdorferi. A working model has been developed to further analyze outer membrane biogenesis and outer membrane protein transport in this pathogenic spirochete.
Project description:The agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, has a number of outer membrane proteins that are differentially regulated during its life cycle. In addition to their physiological functions in the organism, these proteins also likely serve different functions in invasiveness and immune evasion. In borreliae, as well as in other bacteria, a number of membrane proteins have been implicated in binding plasminogen. The activation and transformation of plasminogen into its proteolytically active form, plasmin, enhances the ability of the bacteria to disseminate in the host. Outer membrane vesicles of B. burgdorferi contain enolase, a glycolytic-cycle enzyme that catalyzes 2-phosphoglycerate to form phosphoenolpyruvate, which is also a known plasminogen receptor in Gram-positive bacteria. The enolase was cloned, expressed, purified, and used to generate rabbit antienolase serum. The enolase binds plasminogen in a lysine-dependent manner but not through ionic interactions. Although it is present in the outer membrane, microscopy and proteinase K treatment showed that enolase does not appear to be exposed on the surface. However, enolase in the outer membrane vesicles is accessible to proteolytic degradation by proteinase K. Samples from experimentally and tick-infected mice and rabbits as well as from Lyme disease patients exhibit recognition of enolase in serologic assays. Thus, this immunogenic plasminogen receptor released in outer membrane vesicles could be responsible for external proteolysis in the pericellular environment and have roles in nutrition and in enhancing dissemination.
Project description:The outer membrane (OM) of the pathogenic diderm spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, contains integral beta-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs) in addition to its numerous outer surface lipoproteins. Very few OMPs have been identified in B. burgdorferi, and the protein machinery required for OMP assembly and OM localization is currently unknown. Essential OM BamA proteins have recently been characterized in Gram-negative bacteria that are central components of an OM beta-barrel assembly machine and are required for proper localization and insertion of bacterial OMPs. In the present study, we characterized a putative B. burgdorferi BamA orthologue encoded by open reading frame bb0795. Structural model predictions and cellular localization data indicate that the B. burgdorferi BB0795 protein contains an N-terminal periplasmic domain and a C-terminal, surface-exposed beta-barrel domain. Additionally, assays with an IPTG-regulatable bb0795 mutant revealed that BB0795 is required for B. burgdorferi growth. Furthermore, depletion of BB0795 results in decreased amounts of detectable OMPs in the B. burgdorferi OM. Interestingly, a decrease in the levels of surface-exposed lipoproteins was also observed in the mutant OMs. Collectively, our structural, cellular localization and functional data are consistent with the characteristics of other BamA proteins, indicating that BB0795 is a B. burgdorferi BamA orthologue.
Project description:Lipid rafts are microdomains present in the membrane of eukaryotic organisms and bacterial pathogens. They are characterized by having tightly packed lipids and a subset of specific proteins. Lipid rafts are associated with a variety of important biological processes including signaling and lateral sorting of proteins. To determine whether lipid rafts exist in the inner membrane of Borrelia burgdorferi, we separated the inner and outer membranes and analyzed the lipid constituents present in each membrane fraction. We found that both the inner and outer membranes have cholesterol and cholesterol glycolipids. Fluorescence anisotropy and FRET showed that lipids from both membranes can form rafts but have different abilities to do so. The analysis of the biochemically defined proteome of lipid rafts from the inner membrane revealed a diverse set of proteins, different from those associated with the outer membrane, with functions in protein trafficking, chemotaxis and signaling.
Project description:Two outer membrane protein (OMP) transport systems in diderm bacteria assist in assembly and export of OMPs. These two systems are the ?-barrel assembly machine (BAM) complex and the translocation and assembly module (TAM). The BAM complex consists of the OMP component BamA along with several outer membrane associated proteins. The TAM also consists of an OMP, designated TamA, and a single inner membrane (IM) protein, TamB. Together TamA and TamB aid in the secretion of virulence-associated OMPs. In this study we characterized the hypothetical protein BB0794 in Borrelia burgdorferi. BB0794 contains a conserved DUF490 domain, which is a motif found in all TamB proteins. All spirochetes lack a TamA ortholog, but computational and physicochemical characterization of BB0794 revealed it is a TamB ortholog. Interestingly, BB0794 was observed to interact with BamA and a BB0794 regulatable mutant displayed altered cellular morphology and antibiotic sensitivity. The observation that B. burgdorferi contains a TamB ortholog that interacts with BamA and is required for proper outer membrane biogenesis not only identifies a novel role for TamB-like proteins, but also may explain why most diderms harbor a TamB-like protein while only a select group encodes TamA.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori produces a number of proteins associated with the outer membrane, including adhesins and the vacuolating cytotoxin. These proteins are supposed to integrate into the outer membrane by beta-barrel structures, characteristic of the family of autotransporter proteins. By using the SOMPES (shuttle vector-based outer membrane protein expression) system for outer membrane protein production, we were able to functionally express in H. pylori the cholera toxin B subunit genetically fused to the C-terminal VacA domain. We demonstrate that the fusion protein is translocated to the H. pylori outer membrane and that the CtxB domain is exposed on the H. pylori surface. Thus, we provide the first experimental evidence that the C-terminal beta-domain of VacA can transport a foreign passenger protein to the H. pylori surface and hence acts as a functional autotransporter.
Project description:Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are composed of outer membrane and periplasmic components and are ubiquitously secreted by Gram-negative bacteria. OMVs can disseminate virulence factors for pathogenic bacteria as well as serve as an envelope stress response. From a transposon mutant screen for OMV phenotypes, it was discovered that an nlpA mutant of Escherichia coli produces fewer OMVs than the wild type, whereas a degP mutant produces higher levels of OMVs. NlpA is an inner-membrane-anchored lipoprotein that has a minor role in methionine import. DegP is a periplasmic chaperone/protease for misfolded envelope proteins that is critical when cells are heat shocked. To reveal how these proteins contribute to OMV production, the mutations were combined and the double mutant analyzed. The ?nlpA ?degP strain displayed a high-temperature growth defect that corresponded to the production of fewer OMVs than produced by the ?degP strain. This phenotype also pertained to other undervesiculation mutations in a ?degP background. The hypovesiculation phenotype of ?nlpA in the wild-type strain as well as in the degP deletion strain was found to be a stationary-phase phenomenon. The periplasm of the ?nlpA ?degP strain was determined to contain significantly more protein in stationary phase than the wild type. Additionally, misfolded DegP substrate outer membrane porins were detected in ?degP mutant-derived OMVs. These data suggest that an accumulation of envelope proteins resulting from decreased vesiculation was toxic and contributed to the growth defect. We conclude that OMV production contributes to relieve the envelope of accumulated toxic proteins and that NlpA plays an important role in the production of vesicles in stationary phase.
Project description:Membrane-embedded proteins are critical to the establishment, survival and persistence in the host of the Lyme disease bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), but to date, there are no solved structures of transmembrane proteins representing these attractive therapeutic targets. All available structures from the genus Borrelia represent proteins expressed without a membrane-targeting signal peptide, thus avoiding conserved pathways that modify, fold and assemble membrane protein complexes. Towards elucidating structure and function of these critical proteins, we directed translocation of eleven expression-optimized Bb virulence factors, including the signal sequence, to the Escherichia coli membrane, of which five, BBA57, HtrA, BB0238, BB0323, and DipA, were expressed with C-terminal His-tags. P66 was also expressed using the PelB signal sequence fused to maltose binding protein. Membrane-associated BBA57 lipoprotein was solubilized by non-ionic and zwitterionic detergents. We show BBA57 translocation to the outer membrane, purification at a level sufficient for structural studies, and evidence for an ?-helical multimer. Previous studies showed multiple critical roles of BBA57 in transmission, joint arthritis, carditis, weakening immune responses, and regulating other Bb outer surface proteins. In describing the first purification of membrane-translocated BBA57, this work will support subsequent studies that reveal the precise mechanisms of this important Lyme disease virulence factor.