We describe the cloning and expression of the pc gene which encodes a major immunodominant protein of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis. The pC protein was purified from lysates of B. burgdorferi strain PKo. After tryptic digestion of the pC protein the resulting oligopeptides were applied to a gas-phase sequenator. Thus partial amino acid sequences were obtained. The deduced oligonucleotides were used as hybridization probes. After Southern blotting a reactive band in the 3 kb range of PstI-digested genomic DNA was detected. The insertion of these fragments into pUC vectors finally resulted in pc-positive Escherichia coli clones. The gene (encoding a protein with 212 amino acids) was expressed in E. coli with varying deletions at the 5' end. A sequence comparison with other outer membrane proteins of B. burgdorferi indicates a processing of pC that is similar to that of lipoproteins.