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Identification of a transferrin-binding protein from Borrelia burgdorferi

, : Identification of a transferrin-binding protein from Borrelia burgdorferi. Infection and Immunity 64(8): 2911-2916

Bacterial pathogens have evolved various strategies to acquire iron from the iron-restricted environment found in mammalian hosts. Borrelia burgdorferi should be no different with regard to its requirement for ferric iron, and previous studies have suggested that transferrin (Tf) may be a source of iron in vivo. By probing blots with Tf conjugated to horseradish peroxidase, we have identified an outer membrane protein (28 kDa) from B. burgdorferi B31 that bound holo-Tf but not apo-Tf. The 28-kDa protein bound human, rat, or mouse Tf and was produced only by low-passage (less than passage 5), virulent isolates of strain B31. In addition, the Tf-binding protein (Tbp) from strain B31 retained the ability to bind Tf after treatment with 2% sodium dodecyl sulfate-1% beta-mercaptoethanol and heating to 100 degrees C for 5 min. These properties are remarkably similar to those of the Tbp of Staphylococcus aureus and Tbp2 from Neisseria meningitidis. B. burgdorferi Sh-2-82 produced an outer membrane protein different in size, i.e., 26 kDa, but with properties similar to those of to the protein from strain B31, suggesting variation in B. burgdorferi Tbps. The exact role of the 28-kDa protein in iron acquisition by B. burgdorferi remains to be determined.

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