Functional study of Treponema pallidum genes using Borrelia burgdorferi as a surrogate system

Yanping Yin, Bin Shi, Zhide Tang, Yongliang Lou, X. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To employ Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi), a culturable and genetically transformable spirochete, as a surrogate system to study Treponema pallidum (T. pallidum) gene function. Methods: Bioinformatic analysis revealed that the T. pallidum gene tp0111 encodes the putative sigma factor RpoN. We constructed a B. burgdorferi shuttle vector harboring tp0111. The shuttle vector was then transformed into the B. burgdorferi rpoN mutant strain. The phenotype of the resulting B. burgdorferi strain was then determined. Results: We successfully constructed the B. burgdorferi rpoN mutant carrying the T. pallidum gene tp0111. We found that tp0111 could partially complement the B. burgdorferi rpoN mutant. Conclusion: This work provides the first experimental evidence showing that tp0111 is the rpoN gene of T. pallidum. It also demonstrates that B. burgdorferi can be used as a surrogate system for studying T. pallidum gene function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-572
Number of pages5
JournalChinese Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 31 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Gene regulation
  • Shuttle vector
  • Treponema pallidum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology

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