Relapsing Fever Spirochete Switches Surface Proteins When It Changes Hosts

Scientists at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) report that the corkscrew-shaped bacterium that causes tick-borne relapsing fever switches surface proteins when it moves from a tick into a mammal or vice versa. Their finding, they say, could lead to an improved blood test for diagnosing the illness, one that might help clinicians distinguish relapsing fever from its better known relative, Lyme disease, in the Western United States where both diseases are endemic.

Tom G. Schwan, Ph.D., acting chief of the RML Laboratory of Microbial Structure and Function, and B. Joseph Hinnebusch, Ph.D., staff fellow in the lab, co-authored the report published July 19 in the journal Science. RML, based in Hamilton, Mont., is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

"A large number of proteins on the surface of the relapsing fever spirochete vary during infection in mammals," explains Dr. Schwan. In fact, it's the spontaneous changes in these proteins during human infection that allow the microbe to periodically escape immune detection, leading to a relapse of symptoms. "In our mouse studies," says Dr. Schwan, "we found that these proteins all get turned off during infection in the tick and a different stable type of protein gets produced in their place. But when the spirochete's transmitted back to a mammal, that tick-specific protein gets turned off again and the microbe again produces that very same variable membrane protein that was being produced when the tick ingested it."

Decreasing the temperature, the RML scientists discovered, can trigger the change. "One likely cue that promotes this switch is the drop in temperature that occurs when the spirochete moves from a warm-blooded animal to a tick," Dr. Schwan notes.

Their observations of Borrelia hermsii, the spirochete that causes relapsing fever, can be extended to other Borrelia species, says Dr. Schwan, including B. burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme dis

Contact: Laurie K. Doepel
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Q Fever microbes genome is deciphered
2. Cystic Fibrosis Gene Protects Against Typhoid Fever
3. Global Warming Would Foster Spread Of Dengue Fever Into Some Temperate Regions
4. Clues To Molecular Cancer Switches Probed
5. Pharmacologists Discover Linkage Of Key Cell Switches
6. Evolution Re-Sculpted Animal Limbs By Genetic Switches Once Thought Too Drastic For Survival
7. Surface water not always the answer to Bangladesh arsenic pollution problem
8. Wetting Of Structured Or Imprinted Surfaces - Zooming Down Onto The Nanoscale
9. Measurements Of Protein Surface Verify Electrostatics Model
10. New Technology Deposits Bone-Regenerating Materials On The Surface Of Implants
11. Newly Recognized Cell-Surface Receptor Protects Heart Tissue Against Damage

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/23/2020)... ... August 21, 2020 , ... ... has been published and is now available on the company’s global website. Crystallography ... X-ray analysis community, presenting current news and crystallographic research. , The latest ...
(Date:8/12/2020)... ... August 11, 2020 , ... Both Roche, based in ... into license agreements with Housey Pharma’s HMI subsidiary to gain access to its ... annual Research and Development spending in excess of US $10 billion. , Scientists ...
(Date:8/3/2020)... PHOENIX (PRWEB) , ... August 03, 2020 , ... ... the company announced a new partnership with medical equipment manufacturer, Spectrum Solutions, to ... its clients to strengthen their laboratory supply chain for more than 10 years. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... July 17, 2020 , ... dicentra , a leading ... food industries, is pleased to announce that Charles Galea has joined its clinical ... Charles is an accomplished and results-driven sales executive with over 10 years of ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... July 09, 2020 , ... ... Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has expanded the company’s exclusive license to ... move into the point-of-care diagnostic market, focusing initially on the SARS-CoV-2 biosensor. ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... 09, 2020 , ... Sentien Biotechnologies, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology ... R. Nissenson, M.D., F.A.C.P., as its Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Nissenson will ... SBI-101. Dr. Nissenson serves as an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the ...
(Date:7/7/2020)... ... July 06, 2020 , ... Bio-IT World has announced ... Bristol-Myers Squibb, the University of Chicago, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mission: Cure, and the ... awards program, highlighting outstanding examples of how technology innovations and strategic initiatives can ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: