Thirty-two Borrelia isolates were obtained from the adult stage of ixodid ticks, Ixodes ovatus, collected in various localities in Japan. Borrelial isolates were cultivated and analyzed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, with monoclonal antibodies, by pulsed field gel electrophoresis, and by genomic Southern hybridization. All borrelial isolates showed similar protein profiles and monoclonal antibody reactivities, while plasmid profiles were rather diverse. Genomic hybridization using rRNA gene probes demonstrated the genetic similarities of those isolates. We found no significant differences among the borrelial isolates tested, and the restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns of I. ovatus isolates were quite distinct from those of borrelial strains associated with
Lyme disease. Therefore, the isolates of Borrelia obtained from I. ovatus were thought to fall into different genospecies.