Lyme borreliosis (LB) is a common infection of domestic dogs in areas where there is enzootic transmission of the agent Borrelia burgdorferi. While immunoassays based on individual subunits have mostly supplanted the use of whole-cell preparations for canine serology, only a limited number of informative antigens have been identified. To more broadly characterize the antibody responses to B. burgdorferi infection and to assess the diversity of those responses in individual dogs, we examined sera from 32 adult colony-bred beagle dogs that had been experimentally infected with B. burgdorferi through tick bites and compared those sera in a protein microarray with sera from uninfected dogs in their antibody reactivities to various recombinant chromosome- and plasmid-encoded B. burgdorferi proteins, including 24 serotype-defining OspC proteins of North America. The profiles of immunogenic proteins for the dogs were largely similar to those for humans and natural-reservoir rodents; these proteins included the decorin-binding protein DbpB, BBA36, BBA57, BBA64, the fibronectin-binding protein BBK32, VlsE, FlaB and other flagellar structural proteins, Erp proteins, Bdr proteins, and all of the OspC proteins. In addition, the canine sera bound to the presumptive lipoproteins BBB14 and BB0844, which infrequently elicited antibodies in humans or rodents. Although the beagle, like most other domestic dog breeds, has a small effective population size and features extensive linkage disequilibrium, the group of animals studied here demonstrated diversity in antibody responses in measures of antibody levels and specificities for conserved proteins, such as DbpB, and polymorphic proteins, such as OspC.
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