Complement Evasion by Lyme Disease Spirochetes Academic Article uri icon


  • The complement system is an ancient arm of the innate immune system that plays important roles in pathogen recognition and elimination. Upon activation by microbes, complement opsonizes bacterial surfaces, recruits professional phagocytes, and causes bacteriolysis. Borreliella species are spirochetal bacteria that are transmitted to vertebrate hosts via infected Ixodes ticks and are the etiologic agents of Lyme disease. Pathogens that traffic in blood and other body fluids, like Borreliella, have evolved means to evade complement. Lyme disease spirochetes interfere with complement by producing a small arsenal of outer-surface lipoproteins that bind host complement components and manipulate their native activities. Here we review the current landscape of complement evasion by Lyme disease spirochetes and provide an update on recent discoveries.

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Skare, J. T., & Garcia, B. L.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • May 2020