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VlsE, the variable surface antigen of Borrelia burgdorferi, contains a 26-amino-acid-long immunodominant invariable region, IR(6). In the present study, three overlapping 14-mer peptides reproducing the sequence of IR(6) were used as peptide-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay antigens to map this invariable region in infected monkeys, mice, and human
Lyme disease patients. Antibodies of the two primate species appeared to recognize IR(6) as a single antigenic determinant, while mouse antibodies recognized multiple epitopes within this region.