Publication Title

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications

Document Type


Department or Program


Second Department or Program

Biological Chemistry

Publication Date



The causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, requires shifts in gene expression to undergo its natural enzootic cycle between tick and vertebrate hosts. mRNA decay mechanisms play significant roles in governing gene expression in other bacteria, but are not yet characterized in B. burgdorferi. RNase III is an important enzyme in processing ribosomal RNA, but it also plays a role in mRNA decay in many bacteria. We compared RNA decay profiles and steady-state abundances of transcripts in wild-type Borrelia burgdorferi strain B31 and in an RNase III null (rnc−) mutant. Transcripts encoding RNA polymerase subunits (rpoA and rpoS), ribosomal proteins (rpsD, rpsK, rpsM, rplQ, and rpsO), a nuclease (pnp), a flagellar protein (flaB), and a translational regulator (bpuR) decayed more rapidly in the wild-type strain than in the slow growing rnc− mutant indicating that RNA turnover is mediated by RNase III in the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Additionally, in wild type bacteria, RNA decay rates of rpoS, rpoN, ospA, ospC, bpuR and dbpA transcripts are only modestly affected by changes in the osmolarity.


Original version is available from the publisher at:

Copyright Note

This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Bates College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.

Required Publisher's Statement

© 2020. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license