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Borrelia Burgdorferi (lyme Disease) Vascular Interactions

Saturday, September 3, 2016 9:45
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Published on Aug 25, 2016
Green fluorescent Borrelia interacting with the walls of a skin postcapillary venule of a live mice after injection of bacteria into the blood stream. Blood vessel walls are stained with a red dye. Posted by lab of Tara Moriarty ( From: Norman et al 2008:…
Fascinating research from the Moriatry Lab which has just published the following paper

Biomechanics of Borrelia burgdorferi Vascular Interactions

Rhodaba Ebady, Alexandra F. Niddam Anna E. Boczula Yae Ram Kim Nupur Gupta Tian Tian Tang Tanya Odisho
Hui Zhi Craig A. Simmons Jon T. Skare Tara J. Moriarty


  • Biomechanical characterization of bacterial-vascular interactions
  • Identified catch bond-mediated bacterial vascular adhesion mechanism
  • Conserved vascular interaction strategies in bacteria and host cells


Systemic dissemination of microbes is critical for progression of many infectious diseases and is associated with most mortality due to bacterial infection. The physical mechanisms mediating a key dissemination step, bacterial association with vascular endothelia in blood vessels, remain unknown. Here, we show that endothelial interactions of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi under physiological shear stress mechanistically resemble selectin-dependent leukocyte rolling. Specifically, these interactions are mediated by transfer of mechanical load along a series of adhesion complexes and are stabilized by tethers and catch bond properties of the bacterial adhesin BBK32. Furthermore, we found that the forces imposed on adhesive bonds under flow may be small enough to permit active migration driven by bacterial flagellar motors. These findings provide insight into the biomechanics of bacterial-vascular interactions and demonstrate that disseminating bacteria and circulating host immune cells share widely conserved mechanisms for interacting with endothelia under physiological shear stress.
To read the paper go to 
This paper is causing a great stir in the media rocketting the paper up to -
  • top 2% of all research papers of same age
  • top 4% of Cell Reports papers of same age
  • top 3% of all Cell Reports papers ever!!!!!
with a growing list of media interest  that can be read from

David Michael Conner  explains so well in the Huffington Post why this paper is being read so widely.
For more information and videos visit the Moriatry Lab website


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