, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 51–58 | Cite as

Spirochete round bodies Syphilis, Lyme disease & AIDS: Resurgence of “the great imitator”?

  • Lynn MargulisEmail author
  • Andrew Maniotis
  • James MacAllister
  • John Scythes
  • Oystein Brorson
  • John Hall
  • Wolfgang E. Krumbein
  • Michael J. Chapman
Position Paper


We advocate investigation of spirochete cyclical symbioses (e.g.,Borrelia sp.,Leptospira sp., Treponema sp.) given the newly established verification of a developmental history in these gram-negative motile helical eubacteria, both in pure culture and in mammals. Symbiotic spirochetes can be compared to free-living relatives for their levels of integration (behavioral, metabolic, gene product or genetic levels), Detailed research that correlates life histories of symbiotic spirochetes to changes in the immune system of associated vertebrates is sorely needed. Genome analyses show that in necrotrophic symbioses (Borrelia andTreponema sp.) of humans and other primates, integration of the bionts occurs at the gene product and genetic level. Spirochete round bodies (also called cysts, L-forms and sphaeroplasts) can be induced by many types of unfavorable conditions (e.g., threats of starvation, desiccation, oxidation, penicillin and other antibiotics). Reversion to familiar helical, motile active swimmers by placement of pure cultures into favorable environments in some cases can be controlled. These observations are supported by a European literature, especially Russian, apparently unknown to American medicine and medical research.


Spirochete cysts Treponema pallidum Borrelia burgdorferi AIDS co-factor immune suppression STD spirochetoses Spirosymplokos fossil spirochetes spirochete life histories Mixotricha paradoxa round body reversion 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn Margulis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew Maniotis
    • 2
  • James MacAllister
    • 1
  • John Scythes
    • 3
  • Oystein Brorson
    • 4
  • John Hall
    • 1
  • Wolfgang E. Krumbein
    • 5
  • Michael J. Chapman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of Illinois at Chicago, College of MedicineChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Community Initiative for AIDS Research, proprietor and ownerGlad Day BookshopTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department MicrobiologySentralsykehuset i VestfoldTonsbergNorway
  5. 5.Geomicrobiology, ICBMCarl von Ossietzky UniversityOldenburgGermany

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