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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 1327320, 7 pages
Research Article

Polymorphism of 41 kD Flagellin Gene and Its Human B-Cell Epitope in Borrelia burgdorferi Strains of China

1State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 102206, China
2Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, Hangzhou 310003, China

Received 14 June 2016; Accepted 4 October 2016

Academic Editor: Marcelo A. Soares

Copyright © 2016 Huixin Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The 41 kD flagellin of Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi) is a major component of periplasmic flagellar filament core and a good candidate for serodiagnosis in early stage of Lyme disease. Here, we chose 89 B. burgdorferi strains in China, amplified the gene encoding the 41 kD flagellin, and compared the sequences. The results showed that genetic diversity presented in the 41 kD flagellin genes of all 89 strains among the four genotypes of B. burgdorferi, especially in the genotype of B. garinii. Some specific mutation sites for each genotype of the 41 kD flagellin genes were found, which could be used for genotyping B. burgdorferi strains in China. Human B-cell epitope analysis showed that thirteen of 15 nonsynonymous mutations occurred in the epitope region of 41 kD flagellin and thirty of 42 B-cell epitopes were altered due to all 13 nonsynonymous mutations in the epitope region, which may affect the function of the antigen. Nonsynonymous mutations and changed human B-cell epitopes exist in 41 kD flagellin of B. burgdorferi sensu lato strains; these changes should be considered in serodiagnosis of Lyme disease.