Thursday, January 3, 2013

Spirochete research: 2012 in review

Here are some of my favorite spirochete papers from 2012.  Direct access to all research articles (some behind a paywall) is provided via the DOI links.  Where present, the links above the citations lead to my blog posts about the studies.


Two distinct regions of the Borrelia burgdorferi BBK32 lipoprotein sequentially mediate binding to the vessel wall in vivo during escape of the spirochete from the bloodstream.
  • Moriarty TJ, Shi , Lin Y-P, Ebady R, Zhou H, Odisho T, Hardy P-O, Salman-Dilgimen A, Wu J, Weening EH, Skare JT, Kubes P, Leong J, and Chaconas G (December 2012).  Vascular binding of a pathogen under shear force through mechanistically distinct sequential interactions with host macromolecules.  Molecular Microbiology 86(5):1116-1131.  DOI: 10.1111/mmi.12045

The Leptospira interrogans LigB protein protects the spirochete from complement by capturing complement regulatory proteins.
  • Castiblanco-Valencia MM, Fraga TR, da Silva LB, Monaris D, Abreu PAE, Strobel S, Jozsi M, Isaac L, and Barbosa AS (March 15, 2012).  Leptospiral immunoglobulin-like proteins interact with human complement regulators factor H, FHL-1, FHR-1, and C4BP.  The Journal of Infectious Diseases 205(6):995-1004.  DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jir875
  • Choy HA (July 2012).  Multiple activities of LigB potentiate virulence of Leptospira interrogans: inhibition of alternative and classical pathways of complement.  PLoS One 7(7):e41566. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041566

A B. burgdorferi lipase with hemolytic activity in vitro:
  • Shaw DK, Hyde JA, and Skare JT (January 2012).  The BB0646 protein demonstrates lipase and haemolytic activity associated with Borrelia burgdorferi, the aetiological agent of Lyme disease.  Molecular Microbiology 83(2):319-334.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07932.x


Borrelia burgdorferi needs the alternative sigma factor RpoS to flee from the tick's midgut
  • Dunham-Ems SM, Caimano MJ, Eggers CH, and Radolf JD (February 2012).  Borrelia burgdorferi requires the alternative sigma factor RpoS for Dissemination within the vector during tick-to-mammal transmission.  PLoS Pathogens 8(2):e1002532.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002532


Video microscopy of B. burgdorferi swimming around in gelatin and mouse tissue:
  • Harman MW, Dunham-Ems SM, Caimano MJ, Belperron AA, Bockenstedt LK, Fu HC, Radolf JD, and Wolgemuth CW (February 21, 2012).  The heterogeneous motility of the Lyme disease spirochete in gelatin mimics dissemination through tissue.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109(8):3059-3064.  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1114362109

L. interrogans sheath protein homologs that are not needed for flagellar sheath formation:
  • Lambert A, Picardeau M, Haake DA, Sermswan RW, Srikram A, Adler B, and Murray GA (June 2012).  FlaA proteins in Leptospira interrogans are essential for motility and virulence but are not required for formation of the flagellum sheath.  Infection and Immunity 80(6):2019-2025.  DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00131-12


A close look at the ultrastructure of Leptospira without the artifacts generated by conventional electron microscopy:
  • Raddi G, Morado DR, Yan J, Haake DA, Yang XF, and Liu J (March 2012).  Three-dimensional structures of pathogenic and saprophytic Leptospira species revealed by cryo-electron tomography.  Journal of Bacteriology 194(6):1299-1306.  DOI: 10.1128/JB.06474-11


B. burgdorferi BicA, a protein that protects the spirochete from the toxic effects of copper and iron:
  • Wang P, Lutton A, Olesik J, Vali H, and Li X (December 2012).  A novel iron- and copper-binding protein in the Lyme disease spirochaete.  Molecular Microbiology 86(6):1441-1451.  DOI: 10.1111/mmi.12068


Inflammatory spirochete debris left behind following antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease
  • Bockenstedt LK, Gonzalez DG, Haberman AM, and Belperron AA (July 2, 2012).  Spirochete antigens persist near cartilage after murine Lyme borreliosis therapy.  The Journal of Clinical Investigation 122(7):2652-2660.  DOI: 10.1172/JCI58813

A critical analysis of a study that demonstrated persistence of B. burgdorferi in infected rhesus monkeys that were treated with antibiotics:
  • Wormser GP, Baker PJ, O'Connell S, Pachner AR, Schwartz I, and Shapiro ED (July 2012).  Critical analysis of treatment trials of rhesus macaques infected with Borrelia burgdorferi reveals important flaws in experimental design.  Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases 12(7):535-538.  DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2012.1012
  • Embers ME, Barthold SW, Borda JT, Bowers L, Doyle L, Hodzic E, Jacobs MB, Hasenkampf NR, Martin DS, Narasimhan S, Phillippi-Falkenstein KM, Purcell JE, Ratterree MS, and Philipp MT (January 2012).  Persistence of Borrelia burgdorferi in rhesus macaques following antibiotic treatment of disseminated infection.  PLoS One 7(1):e29914.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029914

A tale of two more studies: topical antibiotics applied to tick bites to prevent Lyme disease
  • Wormser GP, Daniels TJ, Bittker S, Cooper D, Wang G, and Pavia CS (March 15, 2012).  Failure of topical antibiotics to prevent disseminated Borrelia burgdorferi infection following a tick bite in C3H/HeJ mice.  The Journal of Infectious Diseases 205(6):991-994.  DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jir382


Not so golden?  Microscopic agglutination test for diagnosis of leptospirosis
  • Limmathurotsakul D, Turner EL, Wuthiekanun V, Thaipadungpanit J, Suputtamongkol Y, Chierakul W, Smythe LD, Day NPJ, Cooper B, and Peacock SJ (August 1, 2012).  Fool’s gold: Why imperfect reference tests are undermining the evaluation of novel diagnostics: A reevaluation of 5 diagnostic tests for leptospirosis.  Clinical Infectious Diseases 55(3):322-331.  DOI: 10.1093/cid/cis403


Do nonspiral spirochetes help clean our environment?
  • Caro-Quintero A, Ritalahti KM, Cusick KD, Loffler FE, and Konstandtinidis KT (May/June 2012).  The chimeric genome of Sphaerochaeta: Nonspiral spirochetes that break with the prevalent dogma in spirochete biology.  mBio 3(3):e00025-12.  DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00025-12
  • Ritalahti KM, Justicia-Leon SD, Cusick KD, Ramos-Hernandez N, Rubin M, Dornbush J, and Loffler FE (January 2012).  Sphaerochaeta globosa gen. nov., sp. nov. and Sphaerochaeta pleomorpha sp. nov., free-living, spherical spirochetes.  International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 62(Pt 1):210-216.  DOI: 10.1099/ijs.0.023986-0



Biofilms of the Lyme disease spirochete
  • Sapi E, Bastian SL, Mpoy CM, Scott S, Rattelle A, Pabbati N, Poruri A, Burugu D, Theophilus PAS, Pham TV, Data A, Dhaliwal NK, MacDonald A, Rossi MJ, Sinha SK, and Luecke DF (October 2012).  Characterization of biofilm formation by Borrelia burgdorferi in vitroPLoS One 7(10):e48277.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048277



Looking for the syphilis spirochete in ancient bones
  • Montiel R, Solorzano E, Diaz N,  Alvarez-Sandoval BA, Gonzalez-Ruiz M, Canadas MP, Simoes N, Isidro A, and Malgosa A (May 2012).  Neonate human remains: A window of opportunity to the molecular analysis of syphilis.  PLoS One 7(5):e36371.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036371

Presenting flawed studies directly to the public to bypass the scientific peer-review process:
  • Armelagos GJ, Zuckerman MK, and Harper KN (March 2012).  The science behind pre-Columbian evidence of syphilis in Europe: research by documentary.  Evolutionary Anthropology 21(2):50-57.  DOI: 10.1002/evan.20340


Here are two excellent review articles that appeared during the past year:
  • Radolf JD, Caimano MJ, Stevenson B, and Hu LT (February 2012).  Of ticks, mice and men: understanding the dual-host lifestyle of Lyme disease spirochaetes.  Nature Reviews Microbiology 10(2):87-99.  DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro2714
  • Charon NW, Cockburn A, Li C, Liu J, Miller KA, Miller MR, Motaleb MA, and Wolgemuth CW (2012).  The unique paradigm of spirochete motility and chemotaxis.  Annual Reviews of Microbiology 66:349-370.  DOI: 10.1146/annurev-micro-092611-150145

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