The hard tick Ixodes ricinus (Ixodidae) is the sole animal thus far shown to harbour an intra-mitochondrial bacterium, which has recently been named Midichloria mitochondrii. The objectives of this work were (i) to screen ixodid ticks for Midichloria-related bacteria and (ii) to determine whether these bacteria exploit the intra-mitochondrial niche in other tick species. Our main goal was to discover further models of this peculiar form of symbiosis. We have thus performed a PCR screening for Midichloria-related bacteria in samples of ixodid ticks collected in Italy, North America and Iceland. A total of 7 newly examined species from 5 genera were found positive for bacteria closely related to M. mitochondrii. Samples of the tick species Rhipicephalus bursa, found positive in the PCR screening, were analysed with transmission electron microscopy, which revealed the presence of bacteria both in the cytoplasm and in the mitochondria of the oocytes. There is thus evidence that bacteria invade mitochondria in at least 2 tick species. Phylogenetic analysis on the bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences generated from positive specimens revealed that the bacteria form a monophyletic group within the order Rickettsiales. The phylogeny of Midichloria symbionts and related bacteria does not appear completely congruent with the phylogeny of the hosts.
|Titolo:||Midichloria mitochondrii is widespread in hard ticks (Ixodidae) and resides in the mitochondria of phylogenetically diverse species|
|Parole Chiave:||Hard ticks; Intra-mitochondrial; Ixodes ricinus; Midichloria mitochondrii; PCR screening; Phylogeny|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore VET/06 - Parassitologia e Malattie Parassitarie degli Animali|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1017/S0031182007004052|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|