Publications -- Rance Berg

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This collection is limited to articles published under the terms of a creative commons license or other open access publishing agreement since 2016. It is not intended as a complete list of the author's works.


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    Suppression of host humoral immunity by Borrelia burgdorferi varies over the course of infection
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2024-03-22) Williams, Megan T.; Zhang, Yan; Pulse, Mark E.; Berg, Rance E.; Allen, Michael S.
    Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochetal agent of Lyme disease, utilizes a variety of strategies to evade and suppress the host immune response, which enables it to chronically persist in the host. The resulting immune response is characterized by unusually strong IgM production and a lack of long-term protective immunity. Previous studies in mice have shown that infection with B. burgdorferi also broadly suppresses host antibody responses against unrelated antigens. Here, we show that mice infected with B. burgdorferi and concomitantly immunized with recombinant severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein had an abrogated antibody response to the immunization. To further define how long this humoral immune suppression lasts, mice were immunized at 2, 4, and 6 weeks post-infection. Suppression of host antibody production against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein peaked at 2 weeks post-infection but continued for all timepoints measured. Antibody responses against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were also assessed following antibiotic treatment to determine whether this immune suppression persists or resolves following clearance of B. burgdorferi. Host antibody production against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein returned to baseline following antibiotic treatment; however, anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM remained high, comparable to levels found in B. burgdorferi-infected but untreated mice. Thus, our data demonstrate restored IgG responses following antibiotic treatment but persistently elevated IgM levels, indicating lingering effects of B. burgdorferi infection on the immune system following treatment.
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    The mitochondrial UPR regulator ATF5 promotes intestinal barrier function via control of the satiety response
    (Elsevier B.V., 2022-12-15) Chamseddine, Douja; Mahmud, Siraje A.; Westfall, Aundrea K.; Castoe, Todd A.; Berg, Rance E.; Pellegrino, Mark W.
    Organisms use several strategies to mitigate mitochondrial stress, including the activation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPR(mt)). The UPR(mt) in Caenorhabditis elegans, regulated by the transcription factor ATFS-1, expands on this recovery program by inducing an antimicrobial response against pathogens that target mitochondrial function. Here, we show that the mammalian ortholog of ATFS-1, ATF5, protects the host during infection with enteric pathogens but, unexpectedly, by maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier. Intriguingly, ATF5 supports intestinal barrier function by promoting a satiety response that prevents obesity and associated hyperglycemia. This consequently averts dysregulated glucose metabolism that is detrimental to barrier function. Mechanistically, we show that intestinal ATF5 stimulates the satiety response by transcriptionally regulating the gastrointestinal peptide hormone cholecystokinin, which promotes the secretion of the hormone leptin. We propose that ATF5 protects the host from enteric pathogens by promoting intestinal barrier function through a satiety-response-mediated metabolic control mechanism.