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The antigenic potential of decorin binding protein A (DbpA) was evaluated in serodiagnosis of human
Lyme borreliosis (LB). The dbpA was cloned and sequenced from the three pathogenic Borrelia species common in Europe. Sequence analysis revealed high interspecies heterogeneity. The identity of the predicted amino acid sequences was 43 to 62% among Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. afzelii, and B. garinii. The respective recombinant DbpAs (rDbpAs) were produced and tested as antigens by Western blotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). One hundred percent of patients with neuroborreliosis (NB) and 93% of patients with
Lyme arthritis (LA) reacted positively. Sera from the majority of patients reacted with one rDbpA only and had no or low cross-reactivity to other two variant proteins. In patients with culture-positive erythema migrans (EM), the sensitivity of rDbpA immunoglobulin G (IgG) or IgM ELISA was low. The DbpA seems to be a sensitive and specific antigen for the serodiagnosis of LA or NB, but not of EM, provided that variants from all three pathogenic borrelial species are included in the combined set of antigens.