Regulation of OspC Expression in a B. burgdorferi Isolate
Anderson, Michaela R.
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Lyme disease causes significant morbidity in the US, and there is currently no effective vaccine. Among the most promising strategies are an OspC-based vaccine, but development has been significantly hindered by the extreme heterogeneity of the protein, and the inability to manipulate OspC expression in laboratory-cultured B. burgdorferi so that the spirochetes more closely match the organisms that infect humans. The goal of this study was to create an infectious B. burgdorferi with appropriate genetic mutations to allow OspC expression to be induced by IPTG under in vitro and in vivo conditions. The ospC promoter was successfully replaced with a lac promoter. In addition, lacI was integrated, but the insertion did not occur in the appropriate region, so additional characterization studies remain necessary. Despite this shortcoming, this study provides valuable information for additional efforts to successfully create a laboratory B. burgdorferi strain with controllable OspC expression.