Key to Lyme disease's locale may be found in the gut of a tick

Key to Lyme disease’s locale may be found in the gut of a tick
Normal microbiota of the tick gut are necessary to maintain the integrity of the glycoprotein-rich mucus lining of the gut (stained in pink), which is required for colonization of Lyme Disease spirochetes, Yale researchers have found.

The prevalence of Lyme disease varies greatly between different locales throughout the Northeast, even though the deer ticks that transmit Lyme bacterium are common throughout the entire region.

A new study by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine suggests an unusual explanation to the mystery: differences in the makeup of microbes in the guts of the ticks.

The disruption of microbiota in the guts of the tick Ixodes scapularis—a known vector for Lyme and other human diseases—prevented colonization of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, the Yale team showed. Yale researchers plan to investigate whether bacterial variations in the tick gut helps account for regional differences in Lyme disease infection rates, said Erol Fikrig, senior author of the paper.  For more information, please read the January issue of the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Normal microbiota of the tick gut are necessary to maintain the integrity of the glycoprotein-rich mucus lining of the gut (stained in pink in the accompanying illustration), which is required for colonization of Lyme disease spirochetes, Yale researchers have found.

More information: "Gut Microbiota of the Tick Vector Ixodes scapularis Modulate Colonization of the Lyme Disease Spirochete." Sukanya Narasimhan, Nallakkandi Rajeevan, Lei Liu, Yang O. Zhao, Julia Heisig, Jingyi Pan, Rebecca Eppler-Epstein, Kathleen DePonte, Durland Fish, Erol Fikrig. Cell Host & Microbe - 15 January 2014 (Vol. 15, Issue 1, pp. 58-71)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New tick-borne disease discovered

Sep 20, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Yale School of Public Health researchers in collaboration with Russian scientists have discovered a new tick-borne bacterium that might be causing disease in the United States and elsewhere. ...

How can Lyme disease be prevented and controlled?

Jan 04, 2012

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the United States, with the majority of cases occurring in the Northeast. It has been three decades since the agent of the disease, the spirochete Borrelia bu ...

Recommended for you

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

12 hours ago

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

13 hours ago

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

User comments