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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Genetics and regulation of chitobiose utilization in Borrelia burgdorferi.

Borrelia burgdorferi spends a significant proportion of its life cycle within an ixodid tick, which has a cuticle containing chitin, a polymer of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc). The B. burgdorferi celA, celB, and celC genes encode products homologous to transporters for cellobiose and chitobiose (the dimer subunit of chitin) in other bacteria, which could be useful for bacterial nutrient acquisition during growth within ticks. We found that chitobiose efficiently substituted for GlcNAc during bacterial growth in culture medium. We inactivated the celB gene, which encodes the putative membrane-spanning component of the transporter, and compared growth of the mutant in various media to that of its isogenic parent. The mutant was no longer able to utilize chitobiose, while neither the mutant nor the wild type can utilize cellobiose. We propose renaming the three genes chbA, chbB, and chbC, since they probably encode a chitobiose transporter. We also found that the chbC gene was regulated in response to growth temperature and during growth in medium lacking GlcNAc.[1]


  1. Genetics and regulation of chitobiose utilization in Borrelia burgdorferi. Tilly, K., Elias, A.F., Errett, J., Fischer, E., Iyer, R., Schwartz, I., Bono, J.L., Rosa, P. J. Bacteriol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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