Caister Academic Press

CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2021) 42: 223-266.

Gene Regulation and Transcriptomics

D. Scott Samuels, Meghan C. Lybecker, X. Frank Yang, Zhiming Ouyang, Travis J. Bourret, William K. Boyle, Brian Stevenson, Dan Drecktrah and Melissa J. Caimano

Borrelia (Borreliella) burgdorferi, along with closely related species, is the etiologic agent of Lyme disease. The spirochete subsists in an enzootic cycle that encompasses acquisition from a vertebrate host to a tick vector and transmission from a tick vector to a vertebrate host. To adapt to its environment and persist in each phase of its enzootic cycle, B. burgdorferi wields three systems to regulate the expression of genes: the RpoN-RpoS alternative sigma (σ) factor cascade, the Hk1/Rrp1 two-component system and its product c-di-GMP, and the stringent response mediated by RelBbu and DksA. These regulatory systems respond to enzootic phase-specific signals and are controlled or fine- tuned by transcription factors, including BosR and BadR, as well as small RNAs, including DsrABb and Bb6S RNA. In addition, several other DNA-binding and RNA-binding proteins have been identified, although their functions have not all been defined. Global changes in gene expression revealed by high-throughput transcriptomic studies have elucidated various regulons, albeit technical obstacles have mostly limited this experimental approach to cultivated spirochetes. Regardless, we know that the spirochete, which carries a relatively small genome, regulates the expression of a considerable number of genes required for the transitions between the tick vector and the vertebrate host as well as the adaptation to each.

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