Adaptation of Borrelia burgdorferi in the tick and the mammalian host


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Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, shows a great ability to adapt to different environments, including the arthropod vector, and the mammalian host. The success of these microorganisms to survive in nature and complete their enzootic cycle depends on the regulation of genes that are essential to their survival in the different environments. This review describes the current knowledge of gene expression by B. burgdorferi in the tick and the mammalian host. The functions of the differentially regulated gene products as well as the factors that influence their expression are discussed. A thorough understanding of the changes in gene expression and the function of the differentially expressed antigens during the life cycle of the spirochete will allow a better control of this prevalent infection and the design of new, second generation vaccines to prevent infection with the spirochete.