Isolation of antigenic components from the Lyme disease spirochete: their role in early diagnosis

J Infect Dis. 1987 Apr;155(4):756-65. doi: 10.1093/infdis/155.4.756.


Patients with early Lyme disease produce IgM antibodies to a 41,000-dalton polypeptide of Borrelia burgdorferi. With advancing disease, IgG antibodies recognize a larger number of spirochetal polypeptides. Sodium dodecyl sulfate treatment of spirochetes at a concentration of 0.03% resulted in an outer envelope (OE) fraction in the supernatant and a protoplasmic cylinder (PC) flagellar fraction in the pellet. Shearing of the PC pellet followed by ultrafiltration and dialysis resulted in a flagellin-enriched fraction. From the OE and flagellin-rich fractions, individual polypeptides with Mr of 66,000, 41,000, and 31,000/34,000 daltons were eluted in microgram quantities after electrophoresis. The flagellin-enriched fraction as well as the eluted polypeptides were used as antigens in the ELISA. The flagellin-enriched fraction was superior to the standard ELISA antigen. The 41-kilodalton (kDa) flagellin antigen was not useful. Antigens of 66 kDa and 31/34 kDa were confirmed to be part of the late antibody response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Antigens, Bacterial / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology*
  • Borrelia / immunology*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flagellin / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Flagellin