Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi does not require thiamin

Kai Zhang, Jiang Bian, Yijie Deng, Alexis Smith, Roy E. Nunez, Michael B. Li, Utpal Pal, Aiming Yu, Weigang Qiu, Steven E. Ealick, Chunhao Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Thiamin pyrophosphate (ThDP), the active form of thiamin (vitamin B 1), is believed to be an essential cofactor for all living organisms 1,2. Here, we report the unprecedented result that thiamin is dispensable for the growth of the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) 3. Bb lacks genes for thiamin biosynthesis and transport as well as known ThDP-dependent enzymes 4, and we were unable to detect thiamin or its derivatives in Bb cells. We showed that eliminating thiamin in vitro and in vivo using BcmE, an enzyme that degrades thiamin, has no impact on Bb growth and survival during its enzootic infectious cycle. Finally, high-performance liquid chromatography analysis reveals that the level of thiamin and its derivatives in Ixodes scapularis ticks, the enzootic vector of Bb, is extremely low. These results suggest that by dispensing with use of thiamin, Borrelia, and perhaps other tick-transmitted bacterial pathogens, are uniquely adapted to survive in tick vectors before transmitting to mammalian hosts. To our knowledge, such a mechanism has not been reported previously in any living organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16213
JournalNature Microbiology
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 21 2016

Fingerprint

Borrelia burgdorferi
Thiamine
Ticks
Thiamine Pyrophosphate
Borrelia
Ixodes
Lyme Disease
Enzymes
Growth
High Pressure Liquid Chromatography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Zhang, K., Bian, J., Deng, Y., Smith, A., Nunez, R. E., Li, M. B., ... Li, C. (2016). Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi does not require thiamin. Nature Microbiology, 2(1), [16213]. https://doi.org/10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.213

Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi does not require thiamin. / Zhang, Kai; Bian, Jiang; Deng, Yijie; Smith, Alexis; Nunez, Roy E.; Li, Michael B.; Pal, Utpal; Yu, Aiming; Qiu, Weigang; Ealick, Steven E.; Li, Chunhao.

In: Nature Microbiology, Vol. 2, No. 1, 16213, 21.11.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zhang, K, Bian, J, Deng, Y, Smith, A, Nunez, RE, Li, MB, Pal, U, Yu, A, Qiu, W, Ealick, SE & Li, C 2016, 'Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi does not require thiamin', Nature Microbiology, vol. 2, no. 1, 16213. https://doi.org/10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.213
Zhang, Kai ; Bian, Jiang ; Deng, Yijie ; Smith, Alexis ; Nunez, Roy E. ; Li, Michael B. ; Pal, Utpal ; Yu, Aiming ; Qiu, Weigang ; Ealick, Steven E. ; Li, Chunhao. / Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi does not require thiamin. In: Nature Microbiology. 2016 ; Vol. 2, No. 1.
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