Lyme disease, the most prevalent tick-borne
disease in the United States, results from infection with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto. Early studies of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto identified outer surface protein A (OspA), a lipoprotein on the surface of spirochetes that could be the target of protective antibodies to this agent. Pasteur Mérieux Connaught has developed a
Lyme vaccine, ImuLyme, using recombinant OspA protein (rOspA). Methods were developed to routinely assess the identity, quantity, structure, purity, biological activity, heterogeneity, stability, and potency of rOspA. In addition, several methods were performed on a series of lots to support the routine testing methods and further our understanding of the physicochemical characteristics of rOspA. These tests were electrospray mass spectrometry, circular dichroism, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, amino acid analysis, peptide mapping with peptide sequencing, and the application of proteomic methodology to identify trace contaminant host cell proteins. The results of these methods indicate that the rOspA lots are composed of highly purified and properly processed and folded rOspA with trace amounts of E. coli host cell proteins.