Relationship between infectivity and OspC expression in Lyme disease Borrelia

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1994 Nov 1;123(3):319-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1994.tb07242.x.


Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto strain 297 and B. garinii strains HP1 and 12-92 were serially subcultured for 36-50 passages in vitro for 1 year. All low-passage strains showed abundant expression of outer surface protein C (OspC) in the 22-23-kDa range, but the high-passage strains lost or showed reduced expression of OspC in comparison with the low-passage strains. The low-passage strains efficiently infected outbred ddY mice when inoculated into the hind footpad or peritoneal cavity. In contrast, the incidence of infection with the high-passage strains was low. Isolates from the bladders of mice inoculated with the high-passage strains expressed large amounts of OspC in comparison with those originally inoculated. These results indicate that OspC expression is related to the infectivity of Lyme disease borreliae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / metabolism*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology*
  • Mice


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • OspC protein