Journal Article

The role of <i>Borrelia burgdorferi</i> outer surface proteins

Melisha R. Kenedy, Tiffany R. Lenhart and Darrin R. Akins

in FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology

Published on behalf of Federation of Microbiological Societies

Volume 66, issue 1, pages 1-19
Published in print October 2012 | ISSN: 0928-8244
Published online September 2012 | e-ISSN: 1574-695X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-695X.2012.00980.x
The role of Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface proteins

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Abstract

Human pathogenic spirochetes causing Lyme disease belong to the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. Borrelia burgdorferi organisms are extracellular pathogens transmitted to humans through the bite of Ixodes spp. ticks. These spirochetes are unique in that they can cause chronic infection and persist in the infected human, even though a robust humoral and cellular immune response is produced by the infected host. How this extracellular pathogen is able to evade the host immune response for such long periods of time is currently unclear. To gain a better understanding of how this organism persists in the infected human, many laboratories have focused on identifying and characterizing outer surface proteins of B. burgdorferi. As the interface between B. burgdorferi and its human host is its outer surface, proteins localized to the outer membrane must play an important role in dissemination, virulence, tissue tropism, and immune evasion. Over the last two decades, numerous outer surface proteins from B. burgdorferi have been identified, and more recent studies have begun to elucidate the functional role(s) of many borrelial outer surface proteins. This review summarizes the outer surface proteins identified in B. burgdorferi to date and provides detailed insight into the functions of many of these proteins as they relate to the unique parasitic strategy of this spirochetal pathogen.

Keywords: Borrelia; lipoprotein; outer membrane protein; spirochete; Lyme disease

Journal Article.  13406 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Microbiology and Virology ; Biotechnology ; Genetics and Genomics ; Microbiology ; Molecular and Cell Biology

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