Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Specific antibodies reactive with the 22-kilodalton major outer surface protein of Borrelia anserina Ni-NL protect chicks from infection.

Abstract

An outer surface lipoprotein of 22 kDa was identified in the avian pathogen B. anserina Ni-NL by using antibody preparations reactive with bacterial surface-exposed proteins. Amino acid sequence analysis of the 22-kDa protein demonstrated 90% identity with VmpA of B. turicatae, suggesting that the protein belongs to the family of 20-kDa outer surface proteins of the genus Borrelia. All of the 60 chicks intramuscularly treated with antibodies specifically reacting with the 22-kDa protein and infected with strain Ni-NL were completely protected from infection, since no spirochetaemia was detected, and from death. Control chicks were treated with immune sera raised against a pathogenic strain B. anserina Es, which expresses a prominent 20-kDa polypeptide that is also a member of the Vmp family but does not cross-react immunologically with the 22-kDa protein of the Ni-NL strain. These animals, infected with B. anserina Ni-NL, showed a high degree of spirochetaemia 10 days after infection, and all died between 14 and 21 days after infection. The results showed that the 22-kDa surface protein of B. anserina Ni-NL is a determinant of the pathogenic potential of the strain and also confirmed that only strain-specific antibodies are protective against B. anserina infection.