Role of outer membrane architecture in immune evasion by Treponema pallidum and Borrelia burgdorferi

Trends Microbiol. 1994 Sep;2(9):307-11. doi: 10.1016/0966-842x(94)90446-4.


Combined ultrastructural and molecular studies have revealed that the syphilis and Lyme-disease spirochetes, Treponema pallidum and Borrelia burgdorferi, have distinctive molecular architectures. Both organisms persist in their hosts and have strategies for immune evasion that include the use of rare, poorly immunogenic surface-exposed proteins as potential virulence determinants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / ultrastructure*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Lyme Disease / immunology*
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Syphilis / immunology*
  • Syphilis / microbiology
  • Treponema pallidum / immunology*
  • Treponema pallidum / pathogenicity


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins