Genetic Manipulation of Borrelia Spp


The spirochetes Borrelia (Borreliellaburgdorferi and Borrelia hermsii, the etiologic agents of Lyme disease and relapsing fever, respectively, cycle in nature between an arthropod vector and a vertebrate host. They have extraordinarily unusual genomes that are highly segmented and predominantly linear. The genetic analyses of Lyme disease spirochetes have become increasingly more sophisticated, while the age of genetic investigation in the relapsing fever spirochetes is just dawning. Molecular tools available for B. burgdorferi and related species range from simple selectable markers and gene reporters to state-of-the-art inducible gene expression systems that function in the animal model and high-throughput mutagenesis methodologies, despite nearly overwhelming experimental obstacles. This armamentarium has empowered borreliologists to build a formidable genetic understanding of the cellular physiology of the spirochete and the molecular pathogenesis of Lyme disease.

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