A1 Journal article (refereed)
Borrelia burgdorferi Outer Membrane Vesicles Contain Antigenic Proteins, but Do Not Induce Cell Death in Human Cells (2022)

Karvonen, K., Tammisto, H., Nykky, J., & Gilbert, L. (2022). Borrelia burgdorferi Outer Membrane Vesicles Contain Antigenic Proteins, but Do Not Induce Cell Death in Human Cells. Microorganisms, 10(2), Article 212. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10020212

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKarvonen, Kati; Tammisto, Hanna; Nykky, Jonna; Gilbert, Leona

Journal or seriesMicroorganisms


Publication year2022

Publication date19/01/2022


Issue number2

Article number212

PublisherMDPI AG

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79536


Like many bacterial species, Borrelia burgdorferi, the pleomorphic bacterium that causes Lyme borreliosis, produces outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). Borrelial OMVs (BbOMVs) have been identified as containing virulence factors, such as outer surface proteins (Osps) A, B, and C, as well as DNA. However, the pathogenicity of BbOMVs in disease development is still unclear. In this study, we characterized purified BbOMVs by analyzing their size and immunolabeling for known antigenic markers: OspA, OspC, p39, and peptidoglycan. In addition, BbOMVs were cocultured with human non-immune cells for cytotoxicity analysis. The results demonstrated that, on average, the vesicles were small, ranging between 11 and 108 nm in diameter. In addition, both OspA and OspC, as well as Lyme arthritis markers p39 and peptidoglycan, were detected from BbOMVs. Furthermore, BbOMVs were cocultured with non-immune cells, which did not result in cell death. Combined, these results suggested that BbOMVs could participate in the induction of infection by functioning as a decoy for the host immune system. Furthermore, BbOMVs might serve as a means for persistent antigens to remain in the host for prolonged periods of time.

KeywordsborreliosisLyme diseasebacteriaBorreliaproteinsantigensimmunityimmune responseimmune systemimmunology

Free keywordsLyme borreliosis; bleb; extracellular vesicle; persistent antigen

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 17:07