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RpoS regulates essential virulence factors remaining to be identified in Borrelia burgdorferi.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Since the RpoN-RpoS regulatory network was revealed in the
Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi a decade ago, both upstream and downstream of the pathway have been intensively investigated. While significant progress has been made into understanding of how the network is regulated, most notably, discovering a relationship of the network with Rrp2 and BosR, only three crucial virulence factors, including outer surface protein C (OspC) and decorin-binding proteins (Dbps) A and B, are associated with the pathway. Moreover, for more than 10 years no single RpoS-controlled gene has been found to be critical for infection, raising a question about whether additional RpoS-dependent virulence factors remain to be identified.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

The rpoS gene was deleted in B. burgdorferi; resulting mutants were modified to constitutively express all the known virulence factors, OspC, DbpA and DbpB. This genetic modification was unable to restore the rpoS mutant with infectivity.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

The inability to restore the rpoS mutant with infectivity by simultaneously over-expressing all the three virulence factors allows us to conclude RpoS also regulates essential genes that remain to be identified in B. burgdorferi.

PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e53212. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053212. Epub 2012 Dec 27. Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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