Structure-function mapping of BbCRASP-1, the key complement factor H and FHL-1 binding protein of Borrelia burgdorferi

Frank S Cordes, Peter Kraiczy, Pietro Roversi, Markus M Simon, Volker Brade, Oliver Jahraus, Russell Wallis, Leo Goodstadt, Chris P Ponting, Christine Skerka, Peter F Zipfel, Reinhard Wallich, Susan M Lea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochaete transmitted to human hosts during feeding of infected Ixodes ticks, is the causative agent of Lyme disease, the most frequent vector-borne disease in Eurasia and North America. Sporadically Lyme disease develops into a chronic, multisystemic disorder. Serum-resistant B. burgdorferi strains bind complement factor H (FH) and FH-like protein 1 (FHL-1) on the spirochaete surface. This binding is dependent on the expression of proteins termed complement-regulator acquiring surface proteins (CRASPs). The atomic structure of BbCRASP-1, the key FHL-1/FH-binding protein of B. burgdorferi, has recently been determined. Our analysis indicates that its protein topology apparently evolved to provide a high affinity interaction site for FH/FHL-1 and leads to an atomic-level hypothesis for the functioning of BbCRASP-1. This work demonstrates that pathogens interact with complement regulators in ways that are distinct from the mechanisms used by the host and are thus obvious targets for drug design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-84
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Microbiology
Volume296 Suppl 40
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Binding Sites
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Complement C3b Inactivator Proteins
  • Complement Factor H
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


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