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Evaluation of the Borrelia burgdorferi BBA64 protein as a protective immunogen in mice.

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By Brandt KS, Patton TG, Allard AS, Caimano MJ, Radolf JD, Gilmore RD • • April 1, 2014


The Borrelia burgdorferi bba64 gene product is a surface-localized lipoprotein synthesized within mammalian and tick hosts and is involved in vector transmission of disease. These properties suggest that BBA64 may be a vaccine candidate against Lyme borreliosis. In this study, protective immunity against B. burgdorferi challenge was assessed in mice immunized with the BBA64 protein. Mice developed a high-titer antibody response following immunization with soluble recombinant BBA64 but were not protected when challenged by needle inoculation of culture-grown spirochetes. Likewise, mice passively immunized with an anti-BBA64 monoclonal antibody were not protected against needle-inoculated organisms. BBA64-immunized mice were subjected to B. burgdorferi challenge by the natural route of a tick bite, but these trials did not demonstrate significant protective immunity in either outbred or inbred strains of mice. Lipidated recombinant BBA64 produced in Escherichia coli was assessed for possible improved elicitation of a protective immune response. Although inoculation with this antigen produced a high-titer antibody response, the lipidated BBA64 also was unsuccessful in protecting mice from B. burgdorferi challenge by tick bites. Anti-BBA64 antibodies raised in rats eradicated the organisms, as evidenced by in vitro borreliacidal assays, thus demonstrating the potential for BBA64 to be effective as a protective immunogen. However, passive immunization with the same monospecific rat anti-BBA64 polyclonal serum failed to provide protection against tick bite-administered challenge. These results reveal the challenges faced in not only identifying B. burgdorferi proteins with potential protective capability but also in producing recombinant antigens conducive to preventive therapies against Lyme borreliosis.

Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2014 Apr;21(4):526-33. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00824-13. Epub 2014 Feb 5. Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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