Surface exposure and protease insensitivity of Borrelia burgdorferi Erp (OspEF-related) lipoproteins

Microbiology (Reading). 2001 Apr;147(Pt 4):821-830. doi: 10.1099/00221287-147-4-821.


Borrelia burgdorferi can encode numerous lipoproteins of the Erp family. Although initially described as outer surface proteins, the technique used in that earlier study has since been demonstrated to disrupt bacterial membranes and allow labelling of subsurface proteins. Data are now presented from additional analyses indicating that Erp proteins are indeed surface exposed in the outer membrane. Surface localization of these infection-associated proteins indicates the potential for interactions of Erp proteins with vertebrate tissues. Some Erp proteins were resistant to in situ digestion by certain proteases, suggesting that those proteins fold in manners which hide protease cleavage sites, or that they interact with other protective membrane components. Additionally, cultivation of B. burgdorferi in the presence of antibodies directed against Erp proteins inhibited bacterial growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / growth & development
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Endopeptidase K / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immune Sera / biosynthesis
  • Immune Sera / pharmacology
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • ERP protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Immune Sera
  • Lipoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • OspE protein, Borrelia burgdorferi
  • OspF protein, Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Endopeptidase K