Rapid, simple, quantitative, and highly sensitive antibody detection for lyme disease

Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2010 Jun;17(6):904-9. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00476-09. Epub 2010 Apr 14.


There is currently a need for improved serological tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of Lyme disease, an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. In the present study, we evaluated luciferase immunoprecipitation systems (LIPSs) for use for profiling of the antibody responses to a panel of B. burgdorferi proteins for the diagnosis of Lyme disease. Initially, serum samples from a cohort of patients and controls (n = 46) were used for training and were profiled by the use of 15 different B. burgdorferi antigen constructs. For the patient sera, the antibody responses to several B. burgdorferi antigens, including VlsE, flagellin (FlaB), BmpA, DbpA, and DbpB, indicated that the antigens had high levels of immunoreactivity. However, the best diagnostic performance was achieved with a synthetic protein, designated VOVO, consisting of a repeated antigenic peptide sequence, VlsE-OspC-VlsE-OspC, Analysis of an independent set of serum samples (n = 139) used for validation showed that the VOVO LIPS test had 98% sensitivity (95% confidence interval [CI], 93% to 100%; P < 0.0001) and 100% specificity (95% CI, 94% to 100%; P < 0.0001). Similarly, the C6 peptide enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) also had 98% sensitivity (95% CI, 93% to 100%; P < 0.0001) and 98% specificity (95% CI, 90% to 100%; P < 0.0001). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that the rates of detection of Lyme disease by the LIPS test and the C6 ELISA were not statistically different. However, the VOVO LIPS test displayed a wide dynamic range of antibody detection spanning over 10,000-fold without the need for serum dilution. These results suggest that screening by the LIPS test with VOVO and other B. burgdorferi antigens offers an efficient quantitative approach for evaluation of the antibody responses in patients with Lyme disease.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antigens, Bacterial* / chemistry
  • Antigens, Bacterial* / immunology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins* / chemical synthesis
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins* / chemistry
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins* / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins* / chemical synthesis
  • Bacterial Proteins* / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins* / immunology
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / genetics
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Lipoproteins* / chemical synthesis
  • Lipoproteins* / chemistry
  • Lipoproteins* / immunology
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / immunology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / chemical synthesis
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / immunology*
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • OspC protein
  • Peptides
  • VlsE protein, Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Luciferases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/GU182319
  • GENBANK/GU182320