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Infect Immun. 1993 Feb;61(2):423-31.

A monoclonal antibody to OspA inhibits association of Borrelia burgdorferi with human endothelial cells.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103.

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  • Infect Immun 1993 Apr;61(4):1599.


Previously, it has been shown that polyclonal antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi and some monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to borrelia major surface proteins caused inhibition of adherence of the bacteria to cultured human umbilical vein endothelial (HUVE) cells. In this study, fragment antigen binding (Fab) molecules generated from the immunoglobulin G fraction of rabbit anti-recombinant OspA serum were found to inhibit the adherence of B. burgdorferi to HUVE cells by 73%. Subsequently, MAbs were generated for use in determining whether or how B. burgdorferi outer surface proteins (Osps) A and/or B are involved in mediating attachment to, and/or invasion of, HUVE cells by B. burgdorferi. Twenty-two MAbs were generated to borrelial proteins with apparent molecular masses (determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) of 19, 31 (OspA), 34 (OspB), and 35 kDa. Fab molecules from one anti-OspA MAb, 9B3D, demonstrated an inhibitory effect on bacterial association with HUVE cells. None of the other MAbs, including the other anti-OspA MAbs, showed an inhibitory effect on cell association of greater than 5%. This effect of Fab 9B3D was concentration dependent and plateaued at approximately 6 micrograms of Fab per ml (nearly 80% inhibition of the bacterial association with the monolayer). Penetration assays and cell association experiments performed by using immunofluorescence also suggested that the inhibitory action of 9B3D occurs at the level of adherence. MAb 9B3D recognized the OspA of every North American strain tested (n = 19) but only 3 [corrected] of 20 strains from western Europe, Russia, and Japan, suggesting that the North American strains and strains from other parts of the world may use different molecules and/or different OspA epitopes to interact with endothelial cells. Immunoblots of Escherichia coli expressing different OspA fusion peptides suggested that the 9B3D epitope resides in the carboxy-terminal half of OspA. MAb 9B3D promises to be a valuable tool for elucidating the domain or domains of OspA involved in the endothelial cell cytadherence of North American strains of B. burgdorferi.

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