Meghan Lybecker

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The alternative sigma factor RpoS (sigma38 or sigmaS) plays a central role in the reciprocal regulation of the virulence-associated major outer surface proteins OspC and OspA in Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease spirochete. Temperature is one of the key environmental signals controlling RpoS, but the molecular mechanism by which the signal is(More)
Outer surface lipoprotein C (OspC) is a key virulence factor of Borrelia burgdorferi. ospC is differentially regulated during borrelial transmission from ticks to rodents, and such regulation is essential for maintaining the spirochete in its natural enzootic cycle. Recently, we showed that the expression of ospC in B. burgdorferi is governed by a novel(More)
OspA, OspB and OspC are the major outer surface proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi that are differentially synthesized in response to environmental conditions, including culture temperature. We found that DNA was more negatively supercoiled in B. burgdorferi cultures grown at 23 degrees C compared with cultures grown at 35-37 degrees C. We examined the(More)
Transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi from its tick vector to a vertebrate host requires extensive reprogramming of gene expression. Small regulatory RNAs (sRNA) have emerged in the last decade as important regulators of bacterial gene expression. Despite the widespread observation of sRNA-mediated gene regulation, only one sRNA has been characterized in the(More)
Hfq is a global regulatory RNA-binding protein. We have identified and characterized an atypical Hfq required for gene regulation and infectivity in the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Sequence analyses of the putative B. burgdorferi Hfq protein revealed only a modest level of similarity with the Hfq from Escherichia coli, although a few key(More)
Hfq is a global regulator of gene expression in bacteria undergoing adaptation to changing environmental conditions. Its major function is to promote RNA-RNA interactions between regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs) and their target mRNAs. Previously, we demonstrated that Hfq binds many antisense RNAs (asRNAs) in vitro and hypothesized that Hfq may play a role in(More)
Advances in high-throughput transcriptome analyses have revealed hundreds of antisense RNAs (asRNAs) for many bacteria, although few have been characterized, and the number of functional asRNAs remains unknown. We have developed a genome-wide high-throughput method to identify functional asRNAs in vivo. Most mechanisms of gene regulation via asRNAs require(More)
Pervasive, or genome-wide, transcription has been reported in all domains of life. In bacteria, most pervasive transcription occurs antisense to protein-coding transcripts, although recently a new class of pervasive RNAs was identified that originates from within annotated genes. Initially considered to be non-functional transcriptional noise, pervasive(More)
As the Lyme disease bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi traverses its enzootic cycle, alternating between a tick vector and a vertebrate host, the spirochete must adapt and persist in the tick midgut under prolonged nutrient stress between blood meals. In this study, we examined the role of the stringent response in tick persistence and in regulation of gene(More)
Folding of RNA molecules into their functional three-dimensional structures is often supported by RNA chaperones, some of which can catalyse the two elementary reactions helix disruption and helix formation. Hfq is one such RNA chaperone, but its strand displacement activity is controversial. Whereas some groups found Hfq to destabilize secondary(More)