Reservoir targeted vaccine for lyme borreliosis induces a yearlong, neutralizing antibody response to OspA in white-footed mice

Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Nov;18(11):1809-16. doi: 10.1128/CVI.05226-11. Epub 2011 Sep 14.


Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. The enzootic cycle of this pathogen requires that Ixodes spp. acquire B. burgdorferi from infected wildlife reservoirs and transmit it to other uninfected wildlife. At present, there are no effective measures to control B. burgdorferi; there is no human vaccine available, and existing vector control measures are generally not acceptable to the public. However, if B. burgdorferi could be eliminated from its reservoir hosts or from the ticks that feed on them, the enzootic cycle would be broken, and the incidence of Lyme disease would decrease. We developed OspA-RTV, a reservoir targeted bait vaccine (RTV) based on the immunogenic outer surface protein A (OspA) of B. burgdorferi aimed at breaking the natural cycle of this spirochete. White-footed mice, the major reservoir species for this spirochete in nature developed a systemic OspA-specific IgG response as a result of ingestion of the bait formulation. This immune response protected white-footed mice against B. burgdorferi infection upon tick challenge and cleared B. burgdorferi from the tick vector. In performing extensive studies to optimize the OspA-RTV for field deployment, we determined that mice that consumed the vaccine over periods of 1 or 4 months developed a yearlong, neutralizing anti-OspA systemic IgG response. Furthermore, we defined the minimum number of OspA-RTV units needed to induce a protective immune response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood*
  • Antigens, Surface / immunology*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Lipoproteins / immunology*
  • Lyme Disease / immunology
  • Lyme Disease / prevention & control*
  • Lyme Disease Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Lyme Disease Vaccines / immunology*
  • Peromyscus
  • Vaccines, Edible / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Edible / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lyme Disease Vaccines
  • OspA protein
  • Vaccines, Edible