Development of a Novel, Peptide-based Vaccine for Lyme Disease
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Lyme disease (LD) is the most prevalent arthropod borne illness in the US. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent infection with LD in humans, rather, prevention of this disease relies on avoiding exposure to the tick vector or treating for LD retroactively. Present research towards a new LD vaccine has focused on the idea of using multimeric, chimeric, and multivalent molecules. The antigens targeted in this approach are highly heterologous between strains and species of Borrelia burgdorferi, and as such, this vaccine may require reformulation of antigens to remain relevant. As such, this dissertation explored the idea of using a novel, highly conserved peptide antigen derived from B. burgdorferi to prevent infection with LD. This approach utilized reverse vaccinology, in silico and in vitro analysis of potential protein candidates, and in vivo vaccination studies using selected proteins and peptides to evaluate the feasibility of a novel peptide vaccine with potential to be broadly protective against LD. Using this methodology, a previously uncharacterized vonWillebrand factor A domain containing protein, BB0173, was characterized and found to localized to the inner membrane with the VWFA domain exposed to the periplasmic space. Further, a novel, highly-conserved peptide antigen of B. burgdorferi (PepB) was identified the extracellularly exposed VWFA domain containing protein BB0172 that demonstrated the ability to generate a protective immune response against B. burgdorferi challenge both using the needle and tick based methods of infection.
Brock, Christina Marie (2017). Development of a Novel, Peptide-based Vaccine for Lyme Disease. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from