Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type

Professional Paper - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Biological Sciences, Division of


Biology – Cellular and Molecular Biology

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Scott Samuels

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences, Division of


Borrelia, GlpD, purification

Subject Categories

Integrative Biology


Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of Lyme disease, is transmitted among reservoir vertebrates by Ixodes ticks in an enzootic cycle. Naïve tick larvae acquire B. burgdorferi by feeding on infected vertebrates. Then, the larvae absorb their blood meal and molt into nymphs. B. burgdorferi reside in the tick midgut and switch from utilizing the sugar glucose, its preferred energy source, to the sugar alcohol glycerol, which is found in the tick as an antifreeze. The enzyme glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) dehydrogenase, encoded by the gene glpD, is predicted to convert glycerol to dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP), which enters glycolysis, the central metabolic pathway for energy production. The B. burgdorferi GlpD has been predicted based on homology to GlpD from other bacteria, yet this has not been biochemically confirmed and the enzyme has yet to be functionally characterized. We hypothesize that GlpD from B. burgdorferi has the same structure and function as GlpD from the model bacterium Escherichia coli. I expressed and obtained recombinant B. burgdorferi GlpD from E. coli. I will perform further purification of the partially purified GlpD prior to biochemical assay to analyze its activity, the conversion of G3P to DHAP.

Honors College Research Project


Available for download on Monday, May 31, 2027



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