Whole genome sequence and comparative genomics of the novel lyme borreliosis causing pathogen, Borrelia mayonii

Luke C. Kingry, Dhwani Batra, Adam Replogle, Lori A. Rowe, Bobbi S. Pritt, Jeannine M. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Borrelia mayonii, a Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl) genospecies, was recently identified as a cause of Lyme borreliosis (LB) among patients from the upper midwestern United States. By microscopy and PCR, spirochete/genome loads in infected patients were estimated at 105 to 106 per milliliter of blood. Here, we present the full chromosome and plasmid sequences of two B. mayonii isolates, MN14-1420 and MN14-1539, cultured from blood of two of these patients. Whole genome sequencing and assembly was conducted using Pac-Bio long read sequencing (Pacific Biosciences RSII instrument) followed by hierarchical genome-assembly process (HGAP). The B. mayonii genome is ∼1.31 Mbp in size (26.9% average GC content) and is comprised of a linear chromosome, 8 linear and 7 circular plasmids. Consistent with its taxonomic designation as a new Bbsl genospecies, the B. mayonii linear chromosome shares only 93.83% average nucleotide identity with other genospecies. Both B. mayonii genomes contain plasmids similar to B. burgdorferi sensu stricto lp54, lp36, lp28-3, lp28-4, lp25, lp17, lp5, 5 cp32s, cp26, and cp9. The vls locus present on lp28-10 of B. mayonii MN14-1420 is remarkably long, being comprised of 24 silent vls cassettes. Genetic differences between the two B. mayonii genomes are limited and include 15 single nucleotide variations as well as 7 fewer silent vls cassettes and a lack of the lp5 plasmid in MN14-1539. Notably, 68 homologs to proteins present in B. burgdorferi sensu stricto appear to be lacking from the B. mayonii genomes. These include the complement inhibitor, CspZ (BB-H06), the fibronectin binding protein, BB-K32, as well as multiple lipoproteins and proteins of unknown function. This study shows the utility of long read sequencing for full genome assembly of Bbsl genomes, identifies putative genome regions of B. mayonii that may be linked to clinical manifestation or tissue tropism, and provides a valuable resource for pathogenicity, diagnostic and vaccine studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0168994
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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