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Some Borrelia species associated with
Lyme disease bind the complement-regulatory protein factor H (fH), a process that may aid in immune evasion. In this report we demonstrate that some Borrelia species associated with relapsing fever bind fH, but not those associated with avian borreliosis and epizootic bovine abortion. Cell-bound fH was also found to mediate cleavage of exogenously supplied human C3b, demonstrating the biological relevance of fH binding and its possible importance in the pathogenesis of the relapsing-fever spirochetes.