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Cell Host Microbe. 2014 Jan 15;15(1):58-71. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2013.12.001.

Gut microbiota of the tick vector Ixodes scapularis modulate colonization of the Lyme disease spirochete.

Author information

1
Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Electronic address: sukanya.narasimhan@yale.edu.
2
Yale Center for Medical Informatics, Yale University School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
3
Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
4
School of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
5
Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA. Electronic address: erol.fikrig@yale.edu.

Abstract

Arthopods such as Ixodes scapularis ticks serve as vectors for many human pathogens. The arthropod gut presents a pivotal microbial entry point and determines pathogen colonization and survival. We show that the gut microbiota of I. scapularis, a major vector of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, influence spirochete colonization of ticks. Perturbing the gut microbiota of larval ticks reduced Borrelia colonization, and dysbiosed larvae displayed decreased expression of the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT). Diminished STAT expression corresponded to lower expression of peritrophin, a key glycoprotein scaffold of the glycan-rich mucus-like peritrophic matrix (PM) that separates the gut lumen from the epithelium. The integrity of the I. scapularis PM was essential for B. burgdorferi to efficiently colonize the gut epithelium. These data elucidate a functional link between the gut microbiota, STAT-signaling, and pathogen colonization in the context of the gut epithelial barrier of an arthropod vector.

PMID:
24439898
PMCID:
PMC3905459
DOI:
10.1016/j.chom.2013.12.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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