Multilocus sequence analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.
Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute
Lyme borreliosis, the most frequent vector-borne disease in the Northern Hemisphere, is caused by spirochaetes belonging to the genus Borrelia. These bacteria now comprise 12 named "species", thus forming a species complex referred to as Borrelia burdorferi sensu lato. All known genotypes of this species complex are maintained by vertebrate hosts and ticks, however, their maintenance systems and pathogenic properties are remarkably diverse. A major question addressed in our project is whether genotypically and ecologically defined Borrelia populations are congruent. So far, most genotyping schemes of Borrelia are based on non-coding spacer regions and genes encoding outer surface proteins, many of which are under frequency-dependent immune selection or prone to recombination. In order to better resolve the geographical population structure and the phylogenetic relationships of these bacteria, we are currently developing and exploring multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) based on housekeeping genes. In this talk I will present some 'proof of principle' data on the suitability of MLSA for genotyping spirochaetal strains.