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Vector-borne pathogens regulate their protein expression profiles, producing factors during host infection that differ from those produced during vector colonization. The
Lyme disease agent, Borrelia burgdorferi, produces Erp surface proteins throughout mammalian infection and represses their synthesis during colonization of vector ticks. Known functions of Erp proteins include binding of host laminin, plasmin(ogen), and regulators of complement activation. A DNA region immediately 5′ of erp operons, the erp operator, is required for transcriptional regulation. The B. burgdorferi BpaB and EbfC proteins exhibit high in vitro affinities for erp operator DNA. In the present studies, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) demonstrated that both proteins bind erp operator DNA in vivo. Additionally, a combination of in vivo and in vitro methods demonstrated that BpaB functions as a repressor of erp transcription, while EbfC functions as an antirepressor.