Lyme disease is the most common arthropod-borne
disease in North America and Europe. At present, there is no commercially available vaccine for use in humans. Outer surface protein C (OspC) has antigenic and expression characteristics that make it an attractive vaccine candidate; however, sequence heterogeneity has impeded its use as a vaccinogen. Sequence analyses have identified 21 well defined OspC phyletic groups or “types” (designated A-U). In this report we have mapped the linear epitopes presented by OspC types B, K, and D during human and murine infection and exploited these epitopes (along with the previously identified type A OspC linear epitopes) in the development of a recombinant, tetravalent, chimeric vaccinogen. The construct was found to be highly immunogenic in mice and the induced antibodies surface labeled in vitro cultivated spirochetes. Importantly, vaccination induced complement-dependent bactericidal antibodies against strains expressing each of the OspC types that were incorporated into the construct. These results suggest that an effective and broadly protective polyvalent OspC-based
Lyme disease vaccine can be produced as a recombinant, chimeric protein.