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Borrelia burgdorferi possesses a collagenolytic activity.

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Lyme disease is a multisystemic disorder caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, an invasive spirochete. B. burgdorferi has a predilection for collagenous tissue and one major clinical manifestation of the
disease is arthritis. We have identified a collagenolytic activity in B. burgdorferi detergent lysates using iodinated gelatin as well as iodinated pepsinized human collagen types II and IV as protein substrates. In addition, we describe several proteolytic activities in B. burgdorferi with molecular masses greater than 200 kDa on sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gels containing copolymerized gelatin. We propose that the collagenolytic activity of B. burgdorferi has a role in invasion, in the pathogenesis of
Lyme arthritis, and perhaps also in other manifestations of
Lyme borreliosis.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1996 Oct 15;144(1):39-45. Comparative Study; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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