Biomechanics of Borrelia burgdorferi Vascular Interactions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Systemic dissemination of microbes is critical for progression of many infectious diseases and is associated with most mortality due to bacterial infection. The physical mechanisms mediating a key dissemination step, bacterial association with vascular endothelia in blood vessels, remain unknown. Here,we show that endothelial interactions of the Lymedisease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi under physiological shear stress mechanistically resemble selectin-dependent leukocyte rolling. Specifically, these interactions are mediated by transfer of mechanical load along a series of adhesion complexes and are stabilized by tethers and catch bond properties of the bacterial adhesin BBK32. Furthermore, we found that the forces imposed on adhesive bonds under flow may be small enough to permit active migration driven by bacterial flagellar motors. These findings provide insight into the biomechanics of bacterial-vascular interactions and demonstrate that disseminating bacteria and circulating host immune cells share widely conserved mechanisms for interacting with endothelia under physiological shear stress.

published proceedings

  • Cell Rep

altmetric score

  • 228.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Ebady, R., Niddam, A. F., Boczula, A. E., Kim, Y. R., Gupta, N., Tang, T. T., ... Moriarty, T. J.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Ebady, Rhodaba||Niddam, Alexandra F||Boczula, Anna E||Kim, Yae Ram||Gupta, Nupur||Tang, Tian Tian||Odisho, Tanya||Zhi, Hui||Simmons, Craig A||Skare, Jon T||Moriarty, Tara J

publication date

  • September 2016