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Infect Immun. 1994 May;62(5):1920-6.

Protection of C3H/HeN mice from challenge with Borrelia burgdorferi through active immunization with OspA, OspB, or OspC, but not with OspD or the 83-kilodalton antigen.

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Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis 95616.


Recent advances in the development of animal models for Lyme borreliosis have provided means of identifying potential targets for the design of a subunit vaccine to prevent this disease. The C3H/HeN mouse model was used to study several Borrelia burgdorferi antigens from a single isolate for their ability to elicit borreliacidal and protective antibodies. The ospA, ospB, ospC, ospD, and 83-kDa genes from a California isolate, SON 188, were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli as proteins fused to the C-terminal end of maltose-binding protein. Active immunization of mice with these fusion proteins elicited high titers of antibodies that recognized the homologous SON 188 antigens upon immunoblotting. Antibodies generated to the OspA and OspB fusion proteins, but not to the OspC, OspD, and the 83-kDa fusion proteins, demonstrated in vitro borreliacidal activity. Challenge of all actively immunized mice with 10(7) SON 188 spirochetes resulted in infection in all mice receiving the OspD or 83-kDa immunogens but not in any mice receiving the OspA, OspB, or OspC fusion proteins. These results demonstrate the potential of OspA, OspB, and OspC as components of a subunit vaccine for the prevention of Lyme borreliosis.

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