Temperature-related differential expression of antigens in the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi.


Previous studies have demonstrated that Borrelia burgdorferi in the midguts of infected ticks shows increased expression of the antigenic outer surface protein OspC after the ticks have ingested a blood meal. This differential expression is at least partly due to a change in temperature, as an increase in OspC levels is also observed when cultures are shifted from 23 to 35 degrees C. Immunoblotting of bacterial lysates with sera from infected mice indicated that the levels of several additional antigens were also increased in bacterial cultures shifted to 35 degrees C; we have identified one antigen as OspE. We have also observed differential expression of OspF, which has been proposed to be coexpressed in an operon with the gene encoding OspE.

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