The outer surface protein C gene (ospC) of
Lyme disease spirochaetes (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato) was analysed for the first time in Taiwan. The genetic identities of these Taiwan isolates (TWKM1-7) were determined by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and sequence similarities of the PCR-amplified ospC gene amplicons. After cleavage by nuclease Dral, differential fragment patterns of PCR-amplified ospC DNA in relation to different genospecies of
Lyme disease spirochaetes were observed and all of these Taiwan isolates were genetically affiliated to the genospecies of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto. The phylogenetic analysis on the sequence similarity of these Taiwan isolates revealed a highly homogeneous genotype, ranging from 99.3% to 100%, within the genospecies of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto and was distinguished from other genospecies of Borrelia isolates. The sequence similarity analysis also revealed the high sequence variability of the ospC gene among Borrelia strains that belong to the same genospecies but were isolated from different biological and geographical sources. Thus, these results provide the first investigation on the genetic identity of the ospC gene of these Taiwan isolates and show that these Taiwan isolates were closely related genetically to the genospecies of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto.