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Microbiology. 2009 Aug;155(Pt 8):2641-51. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.029918-0. Epub 2009 May 14.

Identification of conserved antigens for early serodiagnosis of relapsing fever Borrelia.

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Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA.


Borrelia hermsii is a blood-borne pathogen transmitted by the argasid tick Ornithodoros hermsi. Since spirochaete clearance in mice is associated with an IgM-mediated response, an immunoproteomic analysis was used to identify proteins reactive with IgM. We report that IgM from both mice and human patients infected with B. hermsii not only reacted with the previously identified variable membrane proteins but also identified candidate antigens including heat-shock proteins, an adhesin protein, ABC transporter proteins, flagellar proteins, housekeeping proteins, an immune evasion protein, and proteins with unknown function. Furthermore, IgM reactivity to recombinant glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase was detected during early spirochaete infection and prior to a detectable IgG response. Lastly, a conserved hypothetical protein was produced in Escherichia coli and tested with immune serum against B. hermsii and Borrelia recurrentis. These results identify a much larger set of immunoreactive proteins, and could help in the early serodiagnosis of this tick-borne infection.

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