Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
Lyme disease spirochete isolates can bind complement regulatory protein factor H (fH), a process that may allow evasion of complement-mediated killing. Here we demonstrate significant differences in the fH binding capabilities of species of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. The percentages of B. burgdorferi, B. afzelii, and B. garinii bacteria that bound fH in either enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays or affinity ligand binding immunoblot assays were 100, 83, and 29%, respectively. The fH binding protein profiles were examined and found to exhibit variability among isolates and to form two distinct classes. Differences in fH binding ability may contribute to the differences in pathogenesis and clinical course observed upon infection with different species of the B. burgdorferi sensu lato complex.