The SpoVG protein of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease spirochete, binds to specific sites of DNA and RNA. The bacterium regulates transcription of spoVG during the natural tick-mammal infectious cycle and in response to some changes in culture conditions. Bacterial levels of spoVG mRNA and SpoVG protein did not necessarily correlate, suggesting that posttranscriptional mechanisms also control protein levels. Consistent with this, SpoVG binds to its own mRNA, adjacent to the ribosome-binding site. SpoVG also binds to two DNA sites in the glpFKD operon and to two RNA sites in glpFKD mRNA; that operon encodes genes necessary for glycerol catabolism and is important for colonization in ticks. In addition, spirochetes engineered to dysregulate spoVG exhibited physiological alterations.

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Published in Journal of Bacteriology, v. 200, issue 12, e00033-18, p. 1-13.

Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

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This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Fund for Tick-Borne Diseases to B.S., National Institutes of Health grant P20GM113123 to C.A.B., and funds from the Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health to P.A.R.