ErpC, a member of the complement regulator-acquiring family of surface proteins from Borrelia burgdorferi, possesses an architecture previously unseen in this protein family.
Caesar JJ., Johnson S., Kraiczy P., Lea SM.
Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete responsible for Lyme disease, the most commonly occurring vector-borne disease in Europe and North America. The bacterium utilizes a set of proteins, termed complement regulator-acquiring surface proteins (CRASPs), to aid evasion of the human complement system by recruiting and presenting complement regulator factor H on its surface in a manner that mimics host cells. Presented here is the atomic resolution structure of a member of this protein family, ErpC. The structure provides new insights into the mechanism of recruitment of factor H and other factor H-related proteins by acting as a molecular mimic of host glycosaminoglycans. It also describes the architecture of other CRASP proteins belonging to the OspE/F-related paralogous protein family and suggests that they have evolved to bind specific complement proteins, aiding survival of the bacterium in different hosts.