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October 6, 2017

The Babesia bovis hap2 gene is not required for blood stage replication, but expressed upon in vitro sexual stage induction.

Babesia bovis, is a tick borne apicomplexan parasite responsible for important cattle losses globally. Babesia parasites have a complex life cycle including asexual replication in the mammalian host and sexual reproduction in the tick vector. Novel control strategies aimed at limiting transmission of the parasite are needed, but transmission blocking vaccine candidates remain undefined. Expression of HAP2 has been recognized as critical for the fertilization of parasites in the Babesia-related Plasmodium, and is a leading candidate for a transmission blocking vaccine against malaria. Hereby we identified the B. bovis hap2 gene and demonstrated that it is widely conserved and differentially…

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July 13, 2017

Completed genome sequences of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto B31(NRZ) and closely related patient isolates from Europe.

Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto is a causative agent of human Lyme borreliosis in the United States and Europe. We report here the completed genome sequences of strain B31 isolated from a tick in the United States and two closely related strains from Europe, PAli and PAbe, which were isolated from patients with erythema migrans and neuroborreliosis, respectively. Copyright © 2017 Margos et al.

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February 2, 2017

Toward a complete North American Borrelia miyamotoi genome.

Borrelia miyamotoi, of the relapsing-fever spirochete group, is an emerging tick-borne pathogen causing human illness in the northern hemisphere. Here, we present the chromosome, eight extrachromosomal linear plasmids, and a draft sequence for five circular and one linear plasmid of a Borrelia miyamotoi strain isolated from an Ixodes sp. tick from Connecticut, USA. Copyright © 2017 Kingry et al.

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January 1, 2017

Extremely low genomic diversity of Rickettsia japonica distributed in Japan.

Rickettsiae are obligate intracellular bacteria that have small genomes as a result of reductive evolution. Many Rickettsia species of the spotted fever group (SFG) cause tick-borne diseases known as "spotted fevers". The life cycle of SFG rickettsiae is closely associated with that of the tick, which is generally thought to act as a bacterial vector and reservoir that maintains the bacterium through transstadial and transovarial transmission. Each SFG member is thought to have adapted to a specific tick species, thus restricting the bacterial distribution to a relatively limited geographic region. These unique features of SFG rickettsiae allow investigation of how…

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August 1, 2016

The bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks influences pathogen susceptibility.

Ticks are of medical importance owing to their ability to transmit pathogens to humans and animals. The Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, is a vector of a number of pathogens, including Anaplasma marginale, which is the most widespread tick-borne pathogen of livestock. Although ticks host pathogenic bacteria, they also harbor bacterial endosymbionts that have a role in tick physiology, survival, as well as pathogen acquisition and transmission. The goal of this study was to characterize the bacterial microbiome and examine the impact of microbiome disruption on pathogen susceptibility. The bacterial microbiome of two populations of D. andersoni with historically…

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July 14, 2016

Chromosome and linear plasmid sequences of a 2015 human isolate of the tick-borne relapsing fever spirochete, Borrelia turicatae.

The sequences of the complete linear chromosome and 7 linear plasmids of the relapsing fever spirochete Borrelia turicatae are presented in this report. The 925,547 bp of chromosome and 380,211 bp of plasmid sequence were predicted to contain a total of 1,131 open reading frames, with an average G+C content of 29.7%. Copyright © 2016 Kingry et al.

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June 9, 2016

Chromosome and plasmids of the tick-borne relapsing fever agent Borrelia hermsii.

The zoonotic pathogen Borrelia hermsii bears its multiple paralogous genes for variable antigens on several linear plasmids. Application of combined long-read and short-read next-generation sequencing provided complete sequences for antigen-encoding plasmids as well as other linear and circular plasmids and the linear chromosome of the genome. Copyright © 2016 Barbour.

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February 4, 2016

Transcriptional profiling the 150 kb linear megaplasmid of Borrelia turicatae suggests a role in vector colonization and initiating mammalian infection.

Adaptation is key for survival as vector-borne pathogens transmit between the arthropod and vertebrate, and temperature change is an environmental signal inducing alterations in gene expression of tick-borne spirochetes. While plasmids are often associated with adaptation, complex genomes of relapsing fever spirochetes have hindered progress in understanding the mechanisms of vector colonization and transmission. We utilized recent advances in genome sequencing to generate the most complete version of the Borrelia turicatae 150 kb linear megaplasmid (lp150). Additionally, a transcriptional analysis of open reading frames (ORFs) in lp150 was conducted and identified regions that were up-regulated during in vitro cultivation at…

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January 19, 2016

Multiple and diverse vsp and vlp sequences in Borrelia miyamotoi, a hard tick-borne zoonotic pathogen.

Based on chromosome sequences, the human pathogen Borrelia miyamotoi phylogenetically clusters with species that cause relapsing fever. But atypically for relapsing fever agents, B. miyamotoi is transmitted not by soft ticks but by hard ticks, which also are vectors of Lyme disease Borrelia species. To further assess the relationships of B. miyamotoi to species that cause relapsing fever, I investigated extrachromosomal sequences of a North American strain with specific attention on plasmid-borne vsp and vlp genes, which are the underpinnings of antigenic variation during relapsing fever. For a hybrid approach to achieve assemblies that spanned more than one of the…

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September 16, 2015

Survey of Ixodes pacificus ticks in California reveals a diversity of microorganisms and a novel and widespread Anaplasmataceae species.

Ixodes pacificus ticks can harbor a wide range of human and animal pathogens. To survey the prevalence of tick-borne known and putative pathogens, we tested 982 individual adult and nymphal I. pacificus ticks collected throughout California between 2007 and 2009 using a broad-range PCR and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) assay designed to detect a wide range of tick-borne microorganisms. Overall, 1.4% of the ticks were found to be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, 2.0% were infected with Borrelia miyamotoi and 0.3% were infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum. In addition, 3.0% were infected with Babesia odocoilei. About 1.2% of the ticks were…

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