Borrelia burgdorferi Erp proteins are immunogenic in mammals infected by tick bite, and their synthesis is inducible in cultured bacteria

Brian Stevenson, James L. Bono, Tom G. Schwan, Patricia Rosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations

Abstract

Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, can contain multiple genes encoding different members of the Erp lipoprotein family. Some arthropod-borne bacteria increase the synthesis of proteins required for transmission or mammalian infection when cultures are shifted from cool, ambient air temperature to a warmer, blood temperature. We found that all of the erp genes known to be encoded by infectious isolate B31 were differentially expressed in culture after a change in temperature, with greater amounts of message being produced by bacteria shifted from 23 to 35°C than in those maintained at 23°C. Mice infected with B31 by tick bite produced antibodies that recognized each of the Erp proteins within 4 weeks of infection, suggesting that the Erp proteins are produced by the bacteria during the early stages of mammalian infection and may play roles in transmission from ticks to mammals. Several of the B31 Erp proteins were also recognized by antibodies from patients with Lyme disease and may prove to be useful antigens for diagnostic testing or as components of a protective vaccine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2648-2654
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and Immunity
Volume66
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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