Comparison of whole-cell antibodies and an antigenic flagellar epitope of Borrelia burgdorferi in serologic tests for diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis

J Clin Microbiol. 1992 Dec;30(12):3158-62. doi: 10.1128/jcm.30.12.3158-3162.1992.


A recombinant protein (p41-G) of an antigenic region of flagellin was used in a standard and amplified enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis. Comparable sensitivities (88 to 94%) were noted when sera from 17 persons who had erythema migrans and antibodies to whole-cell B. burgdorferi were tested against the p41-G antigen. In tests of a second study group of 36 persons who had erythema migrans but no detectable antibodies to whole-cell B. burgdorferi, 3 (8%) were positive when the p41-G antigen was used. Assay specificity likewise increased when the p41-G fragment was included in an ELISA with human sera containing treponemal antibodies. Recombinant flagellar proteins of B. burgdorferi, such as the p41-G antigen, can be used in an ELISA and may help confirm Lyme borreliosis during early stages of infection and improve specificity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / statistics & numerical data
  • Epitopes
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Flagellin / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Epitopes
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Flagellin