LtpA, a CdnL-type CarD regulator, is important for the enzootic cycle of the Lyme disease pathogen article

Tong Chen, Xuwu Xiang, Haijun Xu, Xuechao Zhang, Bibi Zhou, Youyun Yang, Yongliang Lou, X. Frank Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Little is known about how Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease pathogen, adapts and survives in the tick vector. We previously identified a bacterial CarD N-terminal-like (CdnL) protein, LtpA (BB0355), in B. burgdorferi that is preferably expressed at lower temperatures, which is a surrogate condition mimicking the tick portion of the enzootic cycle of B. burgdorferi. CdnL-family proteins, an emerging class of bacterial RNAP-interacting transcription factors, are essential for the viability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Myxococcus xanthus. Previous attempts to inactivate ltpA in B. burgdorferi have not been successful. In this study, we report the construction of a ltpA mutant in the infectious strain of B. burgdorferi, strain B31-5A4NP1. Unlike CdnL in M. tuberculosis and M. xanthus, LtpA is dispensable for the viability of B. burgdorferi. However, the ltpA mutant exhibits a reduced growth rate and a cold-sensitive phenotype. We demonstrate that LtpA positively regulates 16S rRNA expression, which contributes to the growth defects in the ltpA mutant. The ltpA mutant remains capable of infecting mice, albeit with delayed infection. Additionally, the ltpA mutant produces markedly reduced spirochetal loads in ticks and was not able to infect mice via tick infection. Overall, LtpA represents a novel regulator in the CdnL family that has an important role in the enzootic cycle of B. burgdorferi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126
JournalEmerging Microbes and Infections
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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