The P39 antigen is a specific, highly conserved, and immunogenic protein of Lyme disease spirochetes, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. The nucleotide sequence of the gene encoding this protein was determined and found to be the first of two tandemly arranged open reading frames located on the spirochete's chromosome. These two open reading frames were designated bmpA for the gene encoding P39 and bmpB for the gene encoding the putative protein ORF2 encoded by the second open reading frame. The nucleic acid sequence identity for the two open reading frames was 62% while their deduced amino acid sequences were 52% identical. Comparison to sequence data bases demonstrated that the deduced amino acid sequences of both P39 and ORF2 were homologous to TmpC, a putative outer or cytoplasmic membrane lipoprotein of the syphilis spirochete, Treponema pallidum.