Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
Results of previous immunological studies suggested that Borrelia burgdorferi regulates synthesis of the IpLA7 lipoprotein during mammalian infection. Through combined use of quantitative reverse transcription PCR, immunofluorescence analyses, ELISA and immunoblotting, it is now demonstrated that IpLA7 is actually expressed throughout mammalian infection, as well as during transmission both from feeding ticks to naïve mice and from infected mice to naïve, feeding ticks. However, proportions of IpLA7-expressing B. burgdorferi within tick midguts declined significantly with time following completion of blood feeding. Cultured bacteria differentially expressed IpLA7 in response to changes in temperature, pH and concentration of 4,5-dihydroxy-2,3-pentanedione, the precursor of autoinducer 2, indicative of mechanisms governing IpLA7 expression. Previous studies also reported mixed results as to the cellular localization of IpLA7. It is now demonstrated that IpLA7 localizes primarily to the borrelial inner membrane and is not surface-exposed, consistent with the ability of these bacteria to produce IpLA7 throughout mammalian infection despite being the target of a robust immune response.