The bacterium that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, may have some help from a gene found in the guts of infected ticks, according to a new study led by Yale researchers and published in Nature Communications.
The research team identified a number of tick gut genes that demonstrated enhanced expression when infected by B. burgdorferi. One of those genes secretes a protein known as PIXR. When the researchers blocked the gene’s function in ticks, colonization of the tick gut by the Lyme bacterium — a key step in sustaining infection prevalence in ticks — was limited.
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