Picture of Kerri Kobryn

Kerri Kobryn BSc, PhD Associate Professor Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology

6B59, Health Sciences

Research Area(s)

  • Biochemistry and molecular biological studies of the Lyme Disease spirochete Borrelia Burgdorferi.


Academic Background

  • BSc. (Hon) (1992) Genetics, University of Western Ontario, Canada
  • PhD (1997) Genetics, University of Glasgow, UK

Areas of Expertise
Biochemistry and Molecular Biological studies of the Lyme Disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi.

Research Interests
Lyme disease is an important emerging infection in Canada transmitted by ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. The Lyme disease spirochetes are unique among human pathogens in having a linear chromosome and plasmids terminated by unusual hairpin telomeres. The lab studies the enzyme, ResT, which forms these hairpin telomeres with a view towards eventual rational design of Borrelia-specific drugs. ResT is related to proteins that in other bacterial species control chromosome segregation. Projects on the biochemistry of this enzyme are available as well as projects to identify and characterize accessory factors required for telomere formation and maintenance. Also available is a project to investigate the origins of genome linearity by recapitulating chromosome linearization in E. coli by introduction of ResT and its substrate into E. coli and rational mutagenesis of appropriate endogenous E. coliproteins.

Currently accepting applications for:

  • NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award: Pl­ease contact the lab no later than December 24
  • Honour student: Please contact the lab no later than August 15

Recent Publications

  • McGrath, SL., Huang, SH. & Kobryn, K. The N-terminal domain of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens telomere resolvase, TelA, regulates its DNA cleavage and rejoining activities. J. Biol Chem. 2022 May; 298(5): 101951. 
  • Kobryn, K. (January 2021). Replication of the Borrelia burgdorferi Genome.. In Justin D Radolf and D. Scott Samuels (Ed.), Lyme Disease and Relapsing Fever Spirochetes: Genomics, Molecular Biology, Host Interactions and Disease Pathogenesis. (pp.73-86): Caister Academic Press
  • McGrath, S.L., Huang, S.H. & Kobryn, K. (2021). Single stranded DNA annealing is a conserved activity of telomere resolvases. PLOS One, 16(2): e0246212.
  • Huang, SH, Hart M.A., Wade M, Cozart M.R., McGrath S.L., Kobryn K. Biochemical characterization of Borrelia burgdorferi's RecA protein. PLoS One. 2017 Oct 31;12(10):e0187382. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187382.
  • Huang, SH, Cozart, M.R., Hart, M.A., Kobryn, K. The Borrelia burgdorferi telomere resolvase, ResT, possesses ATP-dependent DNA unwinding activity. Nucl. Acids Res. 2016. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw1243
  • Huang, SH and Kobryn, K. The Borrelia burgdorferi telomere resolvase, ResT, anneals ssDNA complexed with its cognate ssDNA-binding protein. Nucl. Acids Res. 2016. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw344
  • Lucyshyn, D, Huang, SH, Kobryn, K. Spring loading a pre-cleavage intermediate for hairpin telomere formation. Nucl. Acids Res. 2015. doi:10.1093/nar/gkv497
  • Book Chapter: Mobile DNA III
  • Kobryn K, Chaconas G. 2014. Hairpin telomere resolvases. Microbiol Spectrum 2(6):MDNA3-0023-2014. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.MDNA3-0023-2014
  • Mir T, Huang SH, Kobryn K. The telomere resolvase of the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, promotes DNA single-strand annealing and strand exchange. Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Sep 17. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt832
  • Briffotaux J, Kobryn K. Preventing broken Borrelia telomeres: ResT couples dual hairpin telomere formation with product release. J Biol Chem. 2010 Dec 24;285(52):41010-8. Epub 2010 Oct 14.
  • Chaconas G, Kobryn K. Structure, function, and evolution of linear replicons in Borrelia. Annu Rev Microbiol. 2010;64:185-202. Review.
  • Kobryn K, Briffotaux J, Karpov V. Holliday junction formation by the Borrelia burgdorferi telomere resolvase, ResT: implications for the origin of genome linearity. Mol Microbiol. 2009 Mar;71(5):1117-30.
  • Bankhead T, Kobryn K, Chaconas G. Unexpected twist: harnessing the energy in positive supercoils to control telomere resolution. Mol Microbiol. 2006 Nov;62(3):895-905
  • Kobryn K, Burgin AB, Chaconas G. Uncoupling the chemical steps of telomere resolution by ResT. J Biol Chem; 2005 Jul 22;280(29):26788-95.