Yosemite National Park

J Clin Microbiol. 1993 Dec;31(12):3096-108.

Distribution and molecular analysis of Lyme disease spirochetes, Borrelia burgdorferi, isolated from ticks throughout California.

Schwan TG1, Schrumpf ME, Karstens RH, Clover JR, Wong J, Daugherty M, Struthers M, Rosa PA.

Author information


Previous studies describing the occurrence and molecular characteristics of Lyme disease spirochetes, Borrelia burgdorferi, from California have been restricted primarily to isolates obtained from the north coastal region of this large and ecologically diverse state. Our objective was to look for and examine B. burdorferi organisms isolated from Ixodes pacificus ticks collected from numerous regions spanning most parts of California where this tick is found.

Thirty-one isolates of B. burgdorferi were examined from individual or pooled I. pacificus ticks collected from 25 counties throughout the state. One isolate was obtained from ticks collected at Wawona Campground in Yosemite National Park, documenting the occurrence of the Lyme disease spirochete in an area of intensive human recreational use.

One isolate from an Ixodes neotomae tick from an additional county was also examined. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, immunoblot analysis, agarose gel electrophoresis, Southern blot analysis, and the polymerase chain reaction were used to examine the molecular and genetic determinants of these uncloned, low-passage-number isolates.

All of the isolates were identified as B. burgdorferi by their protein profiles and reactivities with monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, and all the isolates were typed by the polymerase chain reaction as North American-type spirochetes (B. burgdorferi sensu stricto). Although products of the ospAB locus were identified in protein analyses in all of the isolates, several isolates contained deleted forms of this locus that would result in the expression of chimeric OspA-OspB proteins.

The analysis of OspC demonstrated that this protein was widely conserved among the isolates but was also quite variable in its molecular mass and the amount of it that was expressed.

PMID: 8308101 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID: PMC266358 Free PMC Article