Bacterial endosymbionts are abundantly found in both hard and soft ticks. Occidentia massiliensis, a rickettsial endosymbiont, was first identified in the soft tick Ornithodoros sonrai collected from Senegal and later was identified in a hard tick Africaniella transversale. In this study, we noted the presence of Occidentia species, designated as Occidentia-like species, in a soft tick O. turicata americanus. Sequencing and phylogenetic analyses of the two genetic markers, 16S rRNA and groEL confirmed the presence of Occidentia-like species in O. turicata americanus ticks. The Occidentia-like species was noted to be present in all developmental stages of O. turicata americanus and in different tick tissues including ovaries, synganglion, guts and salivary gland. The levels of Occidentia-like species 16S rRNA transcripts were noted to be significantly higher in ovaries than in a gut tissue. In addition, Occidentia-like species groEL expression was noted to be significantly higher in tick synganglion than in ovaries and gut tissues. Furthermore, levels of Occidentia-like species 16S rRNA transcripts increased significantly upon O. turicata americanus blood feeding. Taken together, our study not only shows that Occidentia-like species is present in O. turicata americanus but also suggests that this bacterium may play a role in tick-bacteria interactions.
© 2022 Liu et al.
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Original Publication Citation
Liu, L., Sonenshine, D. E., Sultana, H., & Neelakanta, G. (2022). Identification of a rickettsial endosymbiont in a soft tick Ornithodoros turicata americanus. PLoS ONE, 17(12), 1-16, Article e0278582. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0278582
Liu, Lichao; Sonenshine, Daniel E.; Sultana, Hameeda; and Neelakanta, Girish, "Identification of a Rickettsial Endosymbiont in a Soft Tick Ornithodoros turicata americanus" (2022). Biological Sciences Faculty Publications. 529.