Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdorfer

Topics with information and discussion about published studies related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
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Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdorfer

Postby Camp Other » Thu 25 Oct 2012 2:00

Looks like Dr. MacDonald's PLOSONE paper has finally been made public:

Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdorferi In Vitro


Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, has long been known to be capable of forming aggregates and colonies. It was recently demonstrated that Borrelia burgdorferi aggregate formation dramatically changes the in vitro response to hostile environments by this pathogen. In this study, we investigated the hypothesis that these aggregates are indeed biofilms, structures whose resistance to unfavorable conditions are well documented. We studied Borrelia burgdorferi for several known hallmark features of biofilm, including structural rearrangements in the aggregates, variations in development on various substrate matrices and secretion of a protective extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix using several modes of microscopic, cell and molecular biology techniques. The atomic force microscopic results provided evidence that multilevel rearrangements take place at different stages of aggregate development, producing a complex, continuously rearranging structure. Our results also demonstrated that Borrelia burgdorferi is capable of developing aggregates on different abiotic and biotic substrates, and is also capable of forming floating aggregates. Analyzing the extracellular substance of the aggregates for potential exopolysaccharides revealed the existence of both sulfated and non-sulfated/carboxylated substrates, predominately composed of an alginate with calcium and extracellular DNA present. In summary, we have found substantial evidence that Borrelia burgdorferi is capable of forming biofilm in vitro. Biofilm formation by Borrelia species might play an important role in their survival in diverse environmental conditions by providing refuge to individual cells.

See more: ... ne.0048277

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Re: Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdo

Postby panda » Thu 25 Oct 2012 2:33


Biofilms of Borrelia burgdorferi In vitro type A
Brief statement and Image Showing the transition from Spiral [Planktonic] Borrelia to Granular [specialized shape shifted forms] of viable Borrelia Burgdorferi ... 4_2012.pdf

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Re: Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdo

Postby inmacdonald » Thu 25 Oct 2012 16:26

Dear Panda,
Many thanks for your post.
I have added several additional biofilm related postings and Image files to
the website
More Image Data will follow to reinforce the concept that Non-spiral
borrelia are more frequently encountered in biofilms
of Borrelia burgdorferi than are Spiral forms.
It makes sense that this should be so; ... because the biofilm definiition
makes it clear that Planktonic forms ( in the case of Borrelia- Planktonic forms are
spiral in shape and motile) - Planktonic forms are replaced by specialized borrelia
forms when incorporated as a member of a Community of Borrelia surrounded by
an Extracellular matrix.
Specialized forms of borrelia include any or all of the following:
Cystic forms
Granular forms
Cell wall deficient (spheroplast) forms
straightened non coiled forms (Bacilliform profile, or curved vibrio-like profile)
Crossed and abutted forms

A survey of various images of pure borrelia IN VITRO biofilms reveals that
diversity ( Profile diversity, biochemical diversity, functional diversity, genetic diversity)
are all benchmarked in biofilms of other microbial species. The article on
Oral biofilms in the human ( Referenced below) shows that Biofilms Above the Gingival
sulcus differ in structure from the same organism forming biofilms BENEATH the
gingival sulcus, and differ from Biofilms of the same species which are attached
to the Surface of the tooth.

So it is not unexpected that we should bear witness in the Test tube
that Biofilms of Borrelia burgdorferi are often composed of borrelia
which have undergone SHAPE SHIFTING and as a result the Biofilm members
within the Community {surrounded by extracellular Matrix [slime layer]}
are no longer spiral and no longer motile. Spirality and Motility which are
emblematic of Planktonic Borrelia yield to SPECIALIZATION and thus show
up as NON SPIRAL and Non Motile borrelia burgdorferi.

link: ... ne.0009321

Many excellent images of Oral biofilm forming bacteria,including oral treponemes
[see panel B] Figure 1

I am "shocked and Amazed" ... that morphological diversity for members of biofilm
communities has already been proven for Oral Cavity biofilm formers...
Round up the usual subjects { spiral forms of borrelia need not apply ]


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Re: Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdo

Postby Lorima » Mon 29 Oct 2012 1:44

I just read the paper - it's truly excellent. And what beautiful pictures! Wikipedia has helpful descriptions of the microscopy methods. It's amazing what can be done now. Congratulations to Dr. MacDonald and collaborators! And many thanks from the community of Lyme disease patients. :D

Best regards,
"I have to understand the world, you see."
Richard Feynman

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Re: Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdo

Postby inmacdonald » Tue 30 Oct 2012 13:21

To the Forum:
In hindsight, it might be instructive to re-read the debate
in my long ago posting on biofilms of borrelia burgdorferi
on this forum.

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