RNase III processing of rRNA in the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi

Melissa L. Anacker, Dan Drecktrah, Richard D. LeCoultre, Meghan Lybecker, D. Scott Samuels

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12 Scopus citations


The rRNA genes of Borrelia (Borreliella) burgdorferi are unusually organized; the spirochete has a single 16S rRNA gene that is more than 3 kb from a tandem pair of 23S-5S rRNA operons. We generated an rnc null mutant in B. burgdorferi that exhibits a pleiotropic phenotype, including decreased growth rate and increased cell length. Here, we demonstrate that endoribonuclease III (RNase III) is, as expected, involved in processing the 23S rRNA in B. burgdorferi. The 5' and 3' ends of the three rRNAs were determined in the wild type and rncBb mutants; the results suggest that RNase III in B. burgdorferi is required for the full maturation of the 23S rRNA but not for the 5S rRNA nor, curiously, for the 16S rRNA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00035-18
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Endoribonuclease III
  • RNA processing
  • Ribosomal RNA
  • Spirochetes


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