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We report the cloning and characterization of a chromosomal gene from Borrelia burgdorferi expressing an 83-kilodalton protein antigen in Escherichia coli. The antigen reacted strongly with antisera from two human
Lyme disease patients. The chromosomal gene was expressed in a 6.5-kilobase-pair ClaI fragment cloned into a variable-reading-frame plasmid vector.