Wolbachia Impacts Anaplasma Infection in Ixodes scapularis Tick Cells

K. M. Skinner, J. Underwood, A. Ghosh, A. S. Oliva Chavez and C. L. Brelsfoard,  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,  19. 2022.

The specific interactions of members of tick bacterial microbiota and their effects on pathogen transmission remains relatively unexplored. Here, we introduced a novel Wolbachia infection type into Ixodes scapularis tick cells and examined the antipathogenic effects on the intracellular pathogen Anaplasma phagocytophilum. An increase in A. phagocytophilum replication was observed in Wolbachia-infected tick cells. However, Wolbachia infection densities decreased when cells were serially passaged and ultimately the infection was lost. Host-cell immune response was also examined as an additional factor that could have affected A. phagocytophilum replication in Wolbachia-infected cells. In early passages post-Wolbachia infection, a decreased immune response was observed, but in later passages of cells with low Wolbachia densities, there was no change in the immune response. The results are discussed in relation to the importance of studying the interactions of the tick microbiota, the host cell, and the pathogen and the development of novel tick and tick-borne disease-control approaches.


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