BIOB 260 Cellular and Molecular Biology
BIOB 160N Principles of Living Systems
BCH 486 Biochemistry Research Lab
B.A. Colorado College, 1983
Ph.D. University of Arizona, 1991
Research in our laboratory focuses on the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of Lyme disease. The enzootic life cycle of B. burgdorferi involves a tick vector and a mammalian host: different sets of genes are expressed in these diverse environments. We are primarily interested in the molecular mechanisms by which the spirochete senses that its tick vector is feeding on a vertebrate host and subsequently regulates its gene expression to effect transmission. We also study the cellular mechanisms required for persistence of B. burgdorferi in its tick vector.
We dissect the role of alternative sigma factors and other DNA-binding proteins as well as small RNAs, RNA chaperones and ribonucleases in the regulation of transcription. In addition, we are interested in the molecular physiology of the spirochete because of its unusual bacterial genome, in particular the biogenesis of its ribosomal RNAs and the replication of its linear DNA molecules. Furthermore, we have been involved in developing molecular genetic tools to address these research questions, including a system to artificially regulate gene expression in B. burgdorferi in an enzootic cycle model.
Field of Study
Knight, S.W. and Samuels, D.S. (1999) Natural synthesis of a DNA-binding protein from the C-terminal domain of DNA gyrase A in Borrelia burgdorferi. EMBO J. 18:4875-4881.
Eggers, C.H., Kimmel, B.J., Bono, J.L., Elias, A., Rosa, P., and Samuels, D.S. (2001) Transduction by øBB-1, a bacteriophage of Borrelia burgdorferi. J. Bacteriol. 183:4771-4778.
Alverson, J., Bundle, S.F., Sohaskey, C.D., Lybecker, M.C., and Samuels, D.S. (2003) Transcriptional regulation of the ospAB and ospC promoters from Borrelia burgdorferi. Mol. Microbiol. 48:1665-1677.
Lybecker, M.C., Abel, C.A., Feig, A.L., and Samuels, D.S. (2010) Identification and function of the RNA chaperone Hfq in the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Mol. Microbiol. 78: 622-635.
Drecktrah, D., Lybecker, M., Popitsch, N., Rescheneder, P., Hall, L.S., and Samuels, D.S. (2015) The Borrelia burgdorferi RelA/SpoT homolog and stringent response regulate survival in the tick vector and global gene expression during starvation. PLoS Pathog. 11: e1005160.
Anacker, M.L., Drecktrah, D., LeCoultre, R.D., Lybecker, M., and Samuels, D.S. (2018) RNase III processing of rRNA in the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. J. Bacteriol. 200: e00035-18.
Drecktrah, D., Hall, L.S., Rescheneder, P., Lybecker, M., and Samuels, D.S. (2018) The stringent response-regulated sRNA transcriptome of Borrelia burgdorferi. Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. 8: 231.
Drecktrah, D., Hall, L.S., Brinkworth, A.J., Comstock, J.R., Wassarman, K.M., and Samuels, D.S. (2020) Characterization of 6S RNA in the Lyme disease spirochete. Mol. Microbiol. 113: 399-417. (Cover)
Book chapters, commentary, and reviews:
Samuels, D.S. (1995) Electrotransformation of the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, Chapter 25. In: Nickoloff, J.A. (ed.) Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 47: Electroporation Protocols for Microorganisms, pp. 253-259. Humana Press, Totowa NJ.
Eggers, C.H., Casjens, S., Hayes, S.F., Garon, C.F., Damman, C.J., Oliver, D.B., and Samuels, D.S. (2000) Bacteriophages of spirochetes. J. Mol. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2: 365-373.
Eggers, C.H., Casjens, S. and Samuels, D.S. (2001) Bacteriophages of Borrelia burgdorferi and other spirochetes, Chapter 4. In: Saier, Jr., M.H. and García-Lara, J. (eds.) The Spirochetes: Molecular and Cellular Biology, pp. 35-44. Horizon Scientific Press, Wymondham, United Kingdom.
Samuels, D.S. (2006) Antibiotic resistance in Borrelia burgdorferi: applications for genetic manipulation and implications for evolution. In: Cabello, F.C., Hulinska, D., and Godfrey, H.P. (eds.) Molecular Biology of Spirochetes, pp. 56-70. IOS Press, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Samuels, D.S. and Radolf, J.D. (2009) Who is the BosR around here anyway? Mol. Microbiol. 74: 1295-1299.
Skare, J.T., Carroll, J.A., Yang, X.F., Samuels, D.S., and Akins, D.R. (2010) Gene regulation, transcriptomics, and proteomics. In: Samuels, D.S. and Radolf, J.D. (eds.) Borrelia: Molecular Biology, Host Interaction and Pathogenesis, pp. 67-101. Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, England.
Rosa, P.A., Cabello, F., and Samuels, D.S. (2010) Genetic manipulation of Borrelia burgdorferi. In: Samuels, D.S. and Radolf, J.D. (eds.) Borrelia: Molecular Biology, Host Interaction and Pathogenesis, pp. 189-219. Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, England.
Samuels, D.S. (2011) Gene regulation in Borrelia burgdorferi. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 65: 479-499.
Brisson, D., Drecktrah, D., Eggers, C.H., and Samuels, D.S. (2012) Genetics of Borrelia burgdorferi. Annu. Rev. Genet. 46: 513-534.
Caimano, M.J., Drecktrah, D., Kung, F., and Samuels, D.S. (2016) Interaction of the Lyme disease spirochete with its tick vector. Cell. Microbiol. 18: 919-927. (Cover)
Samuels, D.S. and Samuels, L.R.N. (2016) Gene regulation during the enzootic cycle of the Lyme disease spirochete. For. Immunopathol. Dis. Therap. 7: 205-212.
Lybecker, M.C. and Samuels, D.S. (2017) Small RNAs of Borrelia burgdorferi: characterizing functional regulators in a sea of sRNAs. Yale J. Biol. Med. 90: 317-323.
Drecktrah D. and Samuels, D.S. (2018) Genetic manipulation of Borrelia spp. In: Adler, B. (ed.) Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol, vol. 415: Spirochete Biology: The Post Genomic Era, pp. 113-140. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.
Samuels, D.S., Drecktrah, D., and Hall, L.S. (2018) Genetic transformation and complementation, Chapter 15. In: Pal, U. and Buyuktanir, O. (eds.) Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1690: Borrelia burgdorferi: Methods and Protocols, pp. 183-200. Humana Press, New York NY.
Samuels, D.S. and Radolf, J.D., eds. (2010) Borrelia: Molecular Biology, Host Interaction and Pathogenesis. Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, England. (We're putting the book back together: expect a second edition in 2020...or maybe 2021...!)
Brownian motion (it is a long story):
Pearle, P., Collett, B., Bart, K., Bilderback, D., Newman, D., and Samuels, S. (2010) What Brown saw and you can too. Am. J. Phys. 78: 1278-1289.
Specialized Research Interests
Molecular biology, biochemistry, and microbiology.
Running, hiking, backpacking, bicycling, and skiing.