The pdf has been on my hard drive since Sep 13, 2010. I am agnostic on the question of the cyst form.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term ... 2010658658
Microbiology. 2000 Jan;146 ( Pt 1):119-27.
Serum-starvation-induced changes in protein synthesis and morphology of Borrelia burgdorferi.
Alban PS, Johnson PW, Nelson DR.
Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Genetics, University of Rhode Island, Kingston 02881, USA.
It has been demonstrated previously that motile Borrelia burgdorferi cells transform into non-motile cyst-forms
when incubated for several weeks in BSKII (a complex medium) lacking rabbit serum. B. burgdorferi cells cannot synthesize fatty acids de novo and serum is thought to provide a source of fatty acids and lipids. When B. burgdorferi cells were serum-starved in defined RPMI medium, -90% of the cells formed spherical cysts
within 48 h. Cyst
formation was inhibited by tetracycline. Cyst
opening and recovery of vegetative cells was rapidly induced by the addition of either BSKII or rabbit serum. The percentage of viable cells recovered from cysts ranged from 2.9% to 52-5%
. Viability was inversely proportional to cyst age
. Protein synthesis by B. burgdorferi during serum starvation was examined by labelling cells with Tran35S-Label and analysing the labelled proteins by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and fluorography. The synthesis of over 20 proteins was induced during serum starvation. Western blots of proteins from vegetative cells and cysts
probed with sera from either B. burgdorferi-infected humans or monkeys revealed that several cyst
proteins were antigenic. These data suggest that cells of B. burgdorferi, although possessing a small genome and extremely limited biosynthetic capabilities, rapidly respond to conditions of serum starvation by inducing changes in protein synthesis and cell morphology. This study may help explain how cells of B. burgdorferi can survive periods of nutrient deprivation in different hosts and host tissues.
PMID: 10658658 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free full text
"... Within 24 h, cells starved of serum were completely non-motile and 30–40 % had begun to encyst
. After 48 h incubation in RPMI,, 90 % of serum-starved cells had formed cysts
See Fig. 1C. Cyst
is a single spirochete coiled up to ≈ 2µm.