Essential Components of Borreliella (Borrelia) burgdorferi In Vitro Transcription Assays

William K. Boyle, Hannah N. Sorensen, Travis J. Bourret

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Borreliella burgdorferi is a bacterial pathogen with limited metabolic and genomic repertoires. B. burgdorferi transits extracellularly between vertebrates and ticks and dramatically remodels its transcriptional profile to survive in disparate environments during infection. A focus of B. burgdorferi studies is to clearly understand how the bacteria responds to its environment through transcriptional changes. In vitro transcription assays allow for the basic mechanisms of transcriptional regulation to be biochemically dissected. Here, we present a detailed protocol describing B. burgdorferi RNA polymerase purification and storage, sigma factor purification, DNA template generation, and in vitro transcription assays. The protocol describes the use of RNA polymerase purified from B. burgdorferi 5A4 RpoC-His (5A4-RpoC). 5A4-RpoC is a previously published strain harboring a 10XHis-tag on the rpoC gene encoding the largest subunit of the RNA polymerase. In vitro transcription assays consist of the RNA polymerase purified from strain 5A4-RpoC, a recombinant version of the housekeeping sigma factor RpoD, and a PCR-generated double-stranded DNA template. While the protein purification techniques and approaches to assembling in vitro transcription assays are conceptually well understood and relatively common, handling considerations for RNA polymerases often differ from organism to organism. The protocol presented here is designed for enzymatic studies on the B. burgdorferi RNA polymerase. The method can be adapted to test the role of transcription factors, promoters, and post-translational modifications on the activity of the RNA polymerase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere64134
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number185
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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