Complement Evasion Contributes to Lyme Borreliae–Host Associations

Yi Pin Lin, Maria A. Diuk-Wasser, Brian Stevenson, Peter Kraiczy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the northern hemisphere and is caused by spirochetes of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. Lyme borreliae infect diverse vertebrate reservoirs without triggering apparent manifestations in these animals; however, Lyme borreliae strains differ in their reservoir hosts. The mechanisms that drive those differences are unknown. To survive in vertebrate hosts, Lyme borreliae require the ability to escape from host defense mechanisms, in particular complement. To facilitate the evasion of complement, Lyme borreliae produce diverse proteins at different stages of infection, allowing them to persistently survive without being recognized by hosts and potentially resulting in host-specific infection. This review discusses the current knowledge regarding the ecology and evolutionary mechanisms of Lyme borreliae–host associations driven by complement evasion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-645
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Borrelia
  • Ixodes
  • Lyme disease
  • host association
  • immune evasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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