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Structural studies of a Borrelia burgdorferi bacteriophage



Funding: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) “On Implementation of Activity “Post-doctoral Research Aid” of the Specific Aid Objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovative capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and the ability to attract external financing, investing in human resources and infrastructure” of the Operational Programme “Growth and Employment”.

Project Title: Structural studies of a Borrelia burgdorferi bacteriophage

Project No.:

Implementation period: 1 January 2021 – 30 June 2023

Project costs: 111 505.00 EUR

Project implementer: Dr. biol. Jānis Rūmnieks


Borrelia burgdorferi-associated bacteriophages (phages) are a biologically important but under-investigated feature of the Lyme disease-causing spirochete. A group of ubiquitous B. burgdorferi plasmids cp32s are in fact dormant genomes of a highly unusual bacteriophage φBB1 which can be induced to form virus particles and lyse the bacterium, however, virtually nothing is known about the underlying mechanisms of how this is accomplished. The structural proteins of the φBB1 phage are particularly diverged and have very little or no sequence similarity to other viruses.

The objective of the current project is to use cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography to determine a high-resolution structure of the φBB1 bacteriophage which will map the function of more than a dozen currently obscure phage proteins and will reveal the molecular architecture for an evolutionary distinct lineage of bacterial viruses. As a result, the project aims to provide a comprehensive molecular-level understanding of how the Borrelia phage particles are built which not only will be of considerable value to the fields of fundamental borrelial and bacteriophage research but will additionally provide a foundation for further studies to develop novel approaches and tools relevant to treatment of Lyme disease.

Information published 04.01.2021.

Mājas lapas izstrādi finansēja ERAF aktivitātes projekts Nr. 2010/0196/2DP/ "Latvijas biomedicīnas pētījumu integrācija Eiropas zinātnes telpā".