Borrelia burgdorferi Pathogen Detection in Ixodes scapularis Using DNA Extraction and Nested PCR

Paige Copenhaver and Dr. Diana Ortiz, Department of Biology, Westminster College, 319 South Market Street, New Wilmington PA 16172

Pathogens that cause disease in humans can be transmitted through disease vectors, such as ticks. The focus of this study was on Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease in humans. An efficient and effective molecular detection method was developed, which avoided contamination, to detect B. burgdorferi in Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick). Ticks were collected from Ursus americanus (wild black bears) in northwestern Pennsylvania during the fall of 2019 and were identified by species, sex, and condition (number of days fed). DNA was extracted from each female I. scapularis that fed for 3-4 days.  A nested polymerase chain reaction process was performed using outer and inner oligonucleotide primers that specifically targeted Flagellin B (447 bp) and Outer Surface Protein A (350 bp). Gel electrophoresis was performed to detect the amplicon bands for each sample. Tracking pathogen presence by location will allow for a larger database of B. burgdorferi prevalence. With protocol established, ticks from the surrounding areas can continue to be tested.  

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Paige Copenhaver

Institution: Westminster College

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 3
Date/Time: Mon 4:30pm-5:30pm
Session Number: 3045