Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete bacterium that causes tick-borne Lyme disease. In laboratory cultures, B. burgdorferi develops several pleomorphic forms known as morphotypes.
Functional and structural differences among these morphptypes have been studied, but the changes in their expression at the transcriptome level have never been investigated.
To address this problem, we raised B. burgdorferi morphotype cultures in various growing conditions, harvested their RNA and recovered transcriptomes by RNAseq profiling.
The aim of this project is to detect genes regulating transitions from one morphotype to another, describe differences between morphotypes on a molecular level and to find evolutionary imprints of differentially expressed genes specific for each morphotype by the usage of phylostratigraphic approach.
Our findings are a potential starting point for identifying genes responsible for virulence, antibiotic resistance and evasion of the immune system, making them targets for experimental validation and subsequent functional description, crucial when considering therapy strategies and diagnostic approaches.