Infection spreads via technique also used by immune system’s white blood cells
To zip through the bloodstream and spread infection throughout the body, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease take a cue from the white blood cells trying to attack them. Both use specialized bonds to stick to the cells lining blood vessels and move along at their own pace, biologist Tara Moriarty and colleagues report September 6 in Cell Reports.
“It’s really an amazing case of convergent evolution,” says Wendy Thomas, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who wasn’t part of the study. “There’s little structural similarity between the molecules involved in these behaviors, and yet their behavior is the same.”
Traveling through the bloodstream is more like a whitewater rafting adventure than a lazy Sunday afternoon float. It can be a highly efficient way for bacteria to spread from an infection site to set up shop elsewhere in