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Outer-surface protein C of the Lyme disease spirochete: a protein induced in ticks for infection of mammals.

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Abstract

Environmentally responsive synthesis of surface proteins represents a hallmark of the infectious cycle of the
Lyme disease agent, Borrelia burgdorferi. Here we created and analyzed a B. burgdorferi mutant lacking outer-surface protein C (OspC), an abundant Osp that spirochetes normally synthesize in the tick vector during the blood meal and down-regulate after transmission to the mammal. We demonstrate that B. burgdorferi strictly requires OspC to infect mice but not to localize or migrate appropriately in the tick. The induction of a spirochetal virulence factor preceding the time and host in which it is required demonstrates a developmental sequence for transmission of this arthropod-borne pathogen.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 2;101(9):3142-7. Epub 2004 Feb 17.

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