Tick-host-Borrelia interaction: Implications for host immunity and vaccination strategies

A. Wagemakers

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD-Thesis - Research and graduation internal


In this thesis, novel vaccination strategies and targets against Lyme borreliosis are explored, including tick antigens as vaccine targets and the use of DNA vaccination against Borrelia afzelii.
Furthermore, Borrelia miyamotoi, a novel tick-borne pathogen is investigated: The presence of Borrelia miyamotoi in ticks, animals and humans in The Netherlands is explored, its clinical manifestations are reviewed and a culture medium has been developed which enables the propagation of these spirochetes. Based on the latter finding, in vitro and in vivo models were set up to reveal key mechanisms of Borrelia miyamotoi to escape host innate and acquired immunity.
Borrelia miyamotoi is a novel tick-borne pathogen with different clinical manifestations in human infection than Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, (the agent causing Lyme borreliosis). It is able to evade complement-mediated killing by human serum and expresses variable major proteins (Vmps) which enable them to evade antibody-mediated killing in a similar fashion as other tick-borne relapsing fever species. It is present in the same tick populations and geographic regions as B. burgdorferi s.l, and should be in the differential diagnosis in patients presenting with febrile illness after a tick bite, or in immunocompromised patients with a chronic meningoencephalitis and a history of exposure to Ixodes tick bites.
Finally, we found that most humans infected with B. miyamotoi developed antibody responses against Vmps, suggesting their potential future role to establish serological diagnosis of infection.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • van der Poll, T., Supervisor, External person
  • Bins, A.D., Co-supervisor, External person
  • Hovius, Joppe Willem Robert, Co-supervisor
Award date10 Feb 2017
Print ISBNs9789462955608
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this