Special Issue "The Twists and Turns of Pathogenic Spirochetes: Novel Insights for Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817). This special issue belongs to the section "Bacterial Pathogens".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Ryan O. M. Rego
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic, Branisovska 31, 370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
2. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branisovska 31, 370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
Interests: Bacterial genetics; Tick-borne diseases; Vaccines; Diagnostics; Arthropod innate immunity; Epidemiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

Spirochetes are an intriguing group of bacteria. Appearing very diverse when looking at their habitat, ecology, and in many instances their infectivity of vertebrate and non-vertebrate hosts, they are often considered together because of their similar cellular morphologies. They usually are long and thin and can be shaped like flat waves, helices, or more irregular morphologies. As mentioned, a large number of members of this group are known to be pathogens causing diseases worldwide such as Lyme disease, relapsing fever, syphilis, brachyspiral dysentery, and leptospirosis. They are all very different in their genomes which can be very segmented as in the Lyme disease Borrelia that have linear and circular plasmids besides the chromosome to a single circular genome in Treponema spp., the pathogen responsible for syphilis. Besides being unique among bacteria in their motility, which enables them to move within the tissue of their hosts, they also depend on a host of outer surface proteins for evasion of the innate and adaptive immune response within the host.

Spirochetes causing Lyme disease, relapsing fever, and leptospirosis are zoonotic in nature, with the first two mentioned having a tick host, which acts as a vector, within their zoonotic cycle. The identification and description of the adaptations required for pathogenic spirochetes to be able to enter, disseminate, persist, and infect is still very new, interesting, and challenging. An increased understanding in this field is fundamental to the discovery and implementation of strategies for better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

I would like to invite colleagues investigating any of the pathogenic spirochetes within the areas of their ecology, genetics, genomics, immunology, detection, public health, and vaccine development to submit their manuscripts to this Special Issue in the form of original research and reviews.

Dr. Ryan O. M. Rego
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pathogens is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Borrelia
  • Leptospira
  • Treponema
  • Brachyspira
  • Leptospirosis
  • Syphilis
  • Relapsing fever
  • Lyme disease
  • Tick
  • Zoonotic diseases
  • Ecology
  • Host–pathogen Interactions
  • Public health

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Borrelia burgdorferi Surface Exposed GroEL Is a Multifunctional Protein
Pathogens 2021, 10(2), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020226 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
The spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, has a large number of membrane proteins involved in a complex life cycle, that includes a tick vector and a vertebrate host. Some of these proteins also serve different roles in infection and dissemination of the spirochete in [...] Read more.
The spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, has a large number of membrane proteins involved in a complex life cycle, that includes a tick vector and a vertebrate host. Some of these proteins also serve different roles in infection and dissemination of the spirochete in the mammalian host. In this spirochete, a number of proteins have been associated with binding to plasminogen or components of the extracellular matrix, which is important for tissue colonization and dissemination. GroEL is a cytoplasmic chaperone protein that has previously been associated with the outer membrane of Borrelia. A His-tag purified B. burgdorferi GroEL was used to generate a polyclonal rabbit antibody showing that GroEL also localizes in the outer membrane and is surface exposed. GroEL binds plasminogen in a lysine dependent manner. GroEL may be part of the protein repertoire that Borrelia successfully uses to establish infection and disseminate in the host. Importantly, this chaperone is readily recognized by sera from experimentally infected mice and rabbits. In summary, GroEL is an immunogenic protein that in addition to its chaperon role it may contribute to pathogenesis of the spirochete by binding to plasminogen and components of the extra cellular matrix. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Nucleoside Analogs as Antimicrobials Targeting Unique Enzymes in Borrelia burgdorferi
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9090678 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1414
Abstract
The first line therapy for Lyme disease is treatment with doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime. In endemic regions, the persistence of symptoms in many patients after completion of antibiotic treatment remains a major healthcare concern. The causative agent of Lyme disease is a spirochete, [...] Read more.
The first line therapy for Lyme disease is treatment with doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime. In endemic regions, the persistence of symptoms in many patients after completion of antibiotic treatment remains a major healthcare concern. The causative agent of Lyme disease is a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, an extreme auxotroph that cannot exist under free-living conditions and depends upon the tick vector and mammalian hosts to fulfill its nutritional needs. Despite lacking all major biosynthetic pathways, B. burgdorferi uniquely possesses three homologous and functional methylthioadenosine/S-adenosylhomocysteine nucleosidases (MTANs: Bgp, MtnN, and Pfs) involved in methionine and purine salvage, underscoring the critical role these enzymes play in the life cycle of the spirochete. At least one MTAN, Bgp, is exceptional in its presence on the surface of Lyme spirochetes and its dual functionality in nutrient salvage and glycosaminoglycan binding involved in host-cell adherence. Thus, MTANs offer highly promising targets for discovery of new antimicrobials. Here we report on our studies to evaluate five nucleoside analogs for MTAN inhibitory activity, and cytotoxic or cytostatic effects on a bioluminescently engineered strain of B. burgdorferi. All five compounds were either alternate substrates and/or inhibitors of MTAN activity, and reduced B. burgdorferi growth. Two inhibitors: 5′-deoxy-5′-iodoadenosine (IADO) and 5′-deoxy-5′-ethyl-immucillin A (dEt-ImmA) showed bactericidal activity. Thus, these inhibitors exhibit high promise and form the foundation for development of novel and effective antimicrobials to treat Lyme disease. Full article
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Review

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Review
The Brilliance of Borrelia: Mechanisms of Host Immune Evasion by Lyme Disease-Causing Spirochetes
Pathogens 2021, 10(3), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10030281 - 02 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1122
Abstract
Lyme disease (LD) has become the most common vector-borne illness in the northern hemisphere. The causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, is capable of establishing a persistent infection within the host. This is despite the activation of both the innate and adaptive immune [...] Read more.
Lyme disease (LD) has become the most common vector-borne illness in the northern hemisphere. The causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, is capable of establishing a persistent infection within the host. This is despite the activation of both the innate and adaptive immune responses. B. burgdorferi utilizes several immune evasion tactics ranging from the regulation of surface proteins, tick saliva, antimicrobial peptide resistance, and the disabling of the germinal center. This review aims to cover the various methods by which B. burgdorferi evades detection and destruction by the host immune response, examining both the innate and adaptive responses. By understanding the methods employed by B. burgdorferi to evade the host immune response, we gain a deeper knowledge of B. burgdorferi pathogenesis and Lyme disease, and gain insight into how to create novel, effective treatments. Full article
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