Patricia Rosa, Ph.D.Rocky Mountain Laboratories Building 3, Room 3303903 South 4th StreetHamilton, MT 59840-2932Phone: 406-363-9209Fax: email@example.com
Chief, Molecular Genetics Section, LZPChief, Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens
Research in this laboratory focuses on Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, the most common arthropod-borne disorder in the United States. B. burgdorferi is maintained in nature through an infectious cycle between wild mammals and ticks. Occasionally, infected ticks feed upon humans and transmit the spirochete, resulting in Lyme disease.
Human infection has medical significance as a multisystemic, potentially chronic illness. The tick vector and the mammalian host represent very different environments, and there is good evidence for differential gene expression by borreliae in these locations.
This scenario suggests that B. burgdorferi responds to environmental cues to adapt and move between the tick vector and mammalian host. Recent experiments document modulation of spirochetal outer surface proteins in response to environmental conditions and reinforce this hypothesis.
Our broad objective is to use a molecular genetic approach to elucidate the mechanisms of adaptation and variation in B. burgdorferi and their roles in the infectious cycle. The specific aims of our research are as follows:
Knowing which bacterial proteins are synthesized in the mammal versus the tick and gaining insight into their functions will contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of Lyme disease. This knowledge is relevant to the diagnosis and prevention of Lyme disease.
The transmission of B. burgdorferi between ticks and mammals represents an ideal system in which to study the adaptive responses of a bacterial pathogen to its vector and host environments. All steps of this infectious cycle can be reproduced in the laboratory, making it accessible to scientific investigation. Molecular genetics represents a powerful method with which to address this system.
Previous studies have identified spirochetal components that should be important in the adaptation of B. burgdorferi to its environment. Ongoing and future studies are designed to test the roles of these genes and their products in the infectious cycle and to identify additional genes that allow the spirochetes to adapt, persist, and be transmitted between ticks and mammals. This research should elucidate the biological basis of these bacterium-host-vector relationships and the factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of disease in an incidental human host.
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Dr. Rosa received her doctorate in 1980 from the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon. In 1988, following research fellowships at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and at the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic, Dr. Rosa joined Rocky Mountain Laboratories. She became a tenured investigator in 2000 and joined the newly formed Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens in 2005. Dr. Rosa is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and an internationally recognized leader in the field of bacterial molecular genetics.
Sarkar A, Hayes BM, Dulebohn DP, Rosa PA. Regulation of the virulence determinant OspC by bbd18 on linear plasmid lp17 of Borrelia burgdorferi. J Bacteriol. 2011 Oct;193(19):5365-73.
Jewett MW, Jain S, Linowski AK, Sarkar A, Rosa PA. Molecular characterization of the Borrelia burgdorferi in vivo essential protein, PncA. Microbiology. 2011 Oct;157(Pt 10):2831-40.
Dulebohn DP, Bestor A, Rego RO, Stewart PE, Rosa PA. The Borrelia burgdorferi linear plasmid lp38 is dispensable for completion of the mouse-tick infectious cycle. Infect Immun. 2011 Sep;79(9):3510-7.
Rego RO, Bestor A, Rosa PA. Defining the plasmid-borne restriction-modification systems of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. J Bacteriol. 2011 Mar;193(5):1161-71.
Hayes BM, Jewett MJ, Rosa PA. lacZ reporter system for use in Borrelia burgdorferi. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Nov;76(22):7407-12.
Bestor A, Stewart PE, Jewett MW, Sarkar A, Tilly K, Rosa PA. Use of the Cre-lox recombination system to investigate the lp54 gene requirement in the infectious cycle of Borrelia burgdorferi. Infect. Immun. 2010 Jun;78(6):2397-407.
Visit PubMed for a complete publications listing.
Transposon Mutagenesis(PDF)Bb Colony Screen (PDF)Bb Competence Prep (PDF)Bb Transformation (PDF)Mouse Infection (PDF)Plating Bb (PDF)Plasmid Profiles (PDF)Purser-Norris Primers (PDF)Recipes (PDF)
Last Updated February 03, 2014