Immunologic and structural characterization of the dominant 66- to 73-kDa antigens of Borrelia burgdorferi

B. J. Luft, P. D. Gorevic, W. Jiang, P. Munoz, R. J. Dattwyler

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The 66- to 73-kDa proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi are dominant immunogens and expressed in all strains of B. burgdorferi. The humoral response to these Ag occurs relatively early during the course of infection. Two-dimensional Western blot analysis of this group of Ag revealed them to consist of a tetrad of proteins with apparent molecular mass of 66, 68, 71, and 73 kDa. Furthermore, in this study we demonstrate the 66-kDa protein to be a potent inducer of lymphoproliferation in the patient immune to B. burgdorferi. Monospecific polyclonal antibodies and mAb demonstrate that each of these proteins was immunologically distinct. However, direct amino acid sequence of the 66- and 68-kDa Ag was almost identical and had a high level of sequence similarity to the GroEL heat-shock protein (Hsp60) of Escherichia coli and the 60-kDa immunodominant protein of Treponema pallidum. The amino terminal sequence of the 71- and 73-kDa proteins of B. burgdorferi was almost identical and these proteins had remarkable sequence similarity to the DnaK heat-shock protein of E. coli (Hsp70). It appears likely, therefore, that proteins related to the heat-shock family are potent immunogens of B. burgdorferi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2776-2782
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


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