Borrelia burgdorferi bb0426 encodes a 2'-deoxyribosyltransferase that plays a central role in purine salvage

Mol Microbiol. 2009 Jun;72(6):1517-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.06740.x. Epub 2009 May 15.


Borrelia burgdorferi is an obligate parasite with a limited genome that severely narrows its metabolic and biosynthetic capabilities. Thus survival of this spirochaete in an arthropod vector and mammalian host requires that it can scavenge amino acids, fatty acids and nucleosides from a blood meal or various host tissues. Additionally, the utilization of ribonucleotides for DNA synthesis is further complicated by the lack of a ribonucleotide reductase for the conversion of nucleoside-5'-diphosphates to deoxynucleosides-5'-diphosphates. The data presented here demonstrate that B. burgdorferi must rely on host-derived sources of purine bases, deoxypurines and deoxypyrimidines for the synthesis of DNA. However, if deoxyguanosine (dGuo) is limited in host tissue, the enzymatic activities of a 2'-deoxyribosyltransferase (DRTase, encoded by bb0426), IMP dehydrogenase (GuaB) and GMP synthase (GuaA) catalyse the multistep conversion of hypoxanthine (Hyp) to dGMP for DNA synthesis. This pathway provides additional biochemical flexibility for B. burgdorferi when it colonizes and infects different host tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / enzymology
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / genetics*
  • Carbon-Nitrogen Ligases / genetics
  • Carbon-Nitrogen Ligases / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Hypoxanthine / metabolism
  • IMP Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • IMP Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pentosyltransferases / genetics
  • Pentosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Purines / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Purines
  • Hypoxanthine
  • IMP Dehydrogenase
  • Pentosyltransferases
  • nucleoside deoxyribosyltransferase
  • Carbon-Nitrogen Ligases
  • GMP synthase (glutamine-hydrolyzing)