Borrelia Antigens

Borrelia Antigen Products by Targets

Acquisition of Borrelia burgdorferi Fig. 1 Acquisition of Borrelia burgdorferi
(Kurokawa C, et al. 2020)

Ixodes and Borrelia life cycleFig. 2 Ixodes and Borrelia life cycle
(Margos G, et al. 2019)

Borrelia is a bacteria genus that contains 52 known species. This genus is named after the French biologist Amédée Borrell. It can be further catalogued into three groups: 21 species belong to the Lyme disease group, 29 species are members of the relapsing fever group and two species belong to a third group. The infection of Borrelia bacteria may cause borreliosis (also known as Lyme disease), a zoonotic, vector-borne disease. The most common sign of borreliosis is erythema migrans, an expanding area of redness, at the site of a tick bite. Possibly followed by early symptoms including headache, fever and feeling tired. If untreated, serious symptoms may appear including loss of the ability to move one or both sides of the face, severe headaches with neck stiffness, joint pains, swelling, memory problems, heart palpitations, among others. Borreliosis is transmitted primarily by ticks or by lice, which differs between species. 12 species of Borrelia are known to be capable to cause borreliosis. B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. garinii, B. bavariensis, B. afzelii and B. spielmanii are major species known to cause borreliosis.

Borrelia species are spirochetes and have several structural characteristics in common with other spirochetes. Cells of Borrelia species are shaped helically and motile with three modes of movement. The protoplasmic cylinder complex which consists of the inner cell membrane, cytoplasm, and the peptidoglycan, is surrounded by an outer cell membrane. What's more, flagella are located in the periplasmic space between the outer cell membrane and the protoplasmic cylinder, instead of the cell's surface like other bacteria. Cells of Borrelia do not have a discernible regular array at the cell surface. But it may have an amorphous slime layer at this position. The outer cell membrane, or outer sheath, has a trilaminar organization which is similar with cytoplasmic membrane. Cell wall of Borrelia cells contains muramic acid and ornithine as the diamino acid in the peptidoglycan.

B. burgdorferi differentially produces specific proteins as the pathogen infects a host or cycles between arthropods and vertebrate hosts. At the spirochete surface, lipoproteins form distinct membrane protein complexes, such as OspA, OspB, OspC, OspD, and Lp6.6. Other proteins, P66 and BB0405, are constituents of specific functional complexes. Some of these functional complexes are involved in biomolecular interactions, such as FlgE.

  • Basic Membrane Protein A (BmpA)
  • BmpA is a member of the paralogous Bmp protein family, which is encoded by the tandemly arrayed bmp genes on the linear B. burgdorferi chromosome and located in the outer membrane surface of spirochetes as membrane lipoproteins. It is also highly immunogenic in human beings and animals and is one of the antigens used in serodiagnostic tests for Lyme disease. BmpA is involved in the genesis of Lyme arthritis.

  • Decorin Binding Protein (Dbp)
  • One of the B. burgdorferi adhesins identified is decorin binding protein (Dbp), a cell surface lipoprotein that is expressed during the mammalian infection stage. Two homologous forms of Dbp, termed DbpA and DbpB, exist in the B. burgdorferi genome. Both are lipoproteins of approximately 20 kDa in size, and they share ~ 40 % sequence identity. Genetic studies of the two isoforms show both are important for the bacteria during early stages of infection.

  • Outer Surface Protein (Osp)
  • The most robust model to date for B. burgdorferi lipoprotein function are two plasmid-encoded genes, paralog siblings OspA and OspB, encoding prominently expressed outer envelope lipoproteins, which function during the passage of borreliae within the tick vector midgut. In turn, a third gene encoding the lipoprotein OspC is essential for egress to the tick salivary glands.

  • Variable Lipoprotein Surface-Exposed Protein (VlsE)
  • In B. burgdorferi, VlsE is an antigenically variable cell surface protein that evades the antibody response by continuously changing its surface epitopes, and it could potentially function to shield Arp from antibodies.

Diagnosis is by ELISA using antigen to detect antibodies to Borrelia which can often be detected 4 to 6 weeks after the initial infection. Positive results must be confirmed by western blot analysis. Creative Diagnostics now can provide various Borrelia antigens for different applications. Welcome to contact us for more details.


  1. Margos G, Fingerle V, Reynolds S. (2019). Borrelia bavariensis: Vector Switch, Niche Invasion, and Geographical Spread of a Tick-Borne Bacterial Parasite. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 7, 401.
  2. Kurokawa C, Lynn GE, Pedra JHF, et al. (2020). Interactions between Borrelia burgdorferi and ticks. Nature Reviews Microbiology. 18, 587-600.
Inquiry Basket