The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease, which is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. B. burgdorferi must transmit between Ixodes species ticks and vertebrates, which are often small rodents, such as mice. In order to survive, B. burgdorferi must accurately sense its current environment, and regulate many cellular processes in response. Vertebrate hosts offer abundant nutrients, and as such B. burgdorferi is highly motile and metabolically active. The mid-gut of an unfed tick is rather hostile, where nutrients are limited. In order to survive, B. burgdorferi limits processes that require excessive energy, such as motility, growth and division. The Stevenson lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms by which B. burgdorferi senses where it is in the enzootic cycle, and regulates its cellular processes appropriately.
My work is focused on elucidating the multiple functions of a protein SpoVG, which regulates numerous processes, including carbohydrate utilization. SpoVG can bind DNA, RNA, and interact with at least one other regulatory protein. SpoVG can also be post-translationally modified, which impacts its activity. SpoVG is necessary for B. burgdorferi to survive each stage of the enzootic cycle, however we hypothesize that its activity is modulated post-translationally in order to serve a distinct, necessary role when B. burgdorferi is in a tick, a vertebrate, and when transmitting between the two.
- Savage, CR ; Jutras, BL ; Bestor, A.; Tilly, K.; Rosa, PA ; Tourand, Y.; Stewart, PE ; Brissette, CA ; Stevenson, B. "Borrelia burgdorferi SpoVG DNA- and RNA-Binding Protein Modulates the Physiology of the Lyme Disease Spirochete." Journal of bacteriology 200, 12 (2018): [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
- Arnold, WK ; Savage, CR ; Lethbridge, KG ; TC, 2nd Smith; Brissette, CA ; Seshu, J.; Stevenson, B. "Transcriptomic insights on the virulence-controlling CsrA, BadR, RpoN, and RpoS regulatory networks in the Lyme disease spirochete." PloS one 13, 8 (2018): e0203286. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
- Woodman, ME ; Savage, CR ; Arnold, WK ; Stevenson, B. "Direct PCR of Intact Bacteria (Colony PCR)." Current protocols in microbiology 42, (2016): A.3D.1-7. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
- Arnold, WK ; Savage, CR ; Brissette, CA ; Seshu, J.; Livny, J.; Stevenson, B. "RNA-Seq of Borrelia burgdorferi in Multiple Phases of Growth Reveals Insights into the Dynamics of Gene Expression, Transcriptome Architecture, and Noncoding RNAs." PloS one 11, 10 (2016): e0164165. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
- Arnold, WK ; Savage, CR ; Antonicello, AD ; Stevenson, B. "Apparent role for Borrelia burgdorferi LuxS during mammalian infection." Infection and immunity 83, 4 (2015): 1347-53. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]
- Savage, CR ; Arnold, WK ; Gjevre-Nail, A.; Koestler, BJ ; Bruger, EL ; Barker, JR ; Waters, CM ; Stevenson, B. "Intracellular Concentrations of Borrelia burgdorferi Cyclic Di-AMP Are Not Changed by Altered Expression of the CdaA Synthase." PloS one 10, 4 (2015): e0125440. [PubMed Link] | [ Full text ]