The ospA and ospB genes encode the major outer membrane proteins of the Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi. The deduced translation products from the ospA and ospB genes were: (OspA) 273 amino acids long with a molecular weight of 29,334, and (OspB) 296 amino acids long with a molecular weight of 31,739. The two Osp proteins showed a great degree of sequence similarity indicating a recent evolutionary event. Molecular analysis and sequence comparison of OspA and OspB with other proteins revealed a sequence similarity to the signal peptides of prokaryotic lipoproteins. These are the first sequences from Borrelia and provide interesting data on the evolutionary relationship between spirochaetes and other species as well as providing potential for spirochaete diagnostics and vaccines.