The Lyme Disease Spirochete Feasts on Tick Antifreeze
"A study in the July issue of PLoS Pathogens has shown that B. burgdorferi metabolizes the tick's antifreeze while living in its midgut. Many arthropods and insects produce large amounts of antifreeze to protect themselves from freezing temperatures. The Ixodes tick's antifreeze is glycerol, the same stuff that's often added to enzymes to keep them from freezing in laboratory freezers. The amount of glycerol found in other organisms is too low to serve as antifreeze. I describe below how B. burgdorferi handles glycerol, but the same enzymes are found in most organisms that metabolize glycerol, including humans."
by Microbe Fan | In the northeastern United States the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi spreads from one white-footed mouse to another by hitching a ride in the deer tick Ixodes scapularis. Transmission between tick and mouse occurs…