Detection of bacteria related to Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii in tick cell lines

N.A. Najm, C. Silaghi, Lesley Sakyi, K. Pfister, L.M.F. Passos

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Many ticks have been shown to be infected with intracellular bacteria. One of these bacteria is Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii which is the only characterized bacterium that has the ability to invade the mitochondria within ovarian cells and consume them without any effect on the female tick's reproduction. In the present study, eight cell lines derived from the ticks Ixodes ricinus, Ixodes scapularis, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, and Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus were examined for the presence of the bacterium Ca. Midichloria mitochondrii. PCR assays for this bacterium were carried out using two sets of primers targeting the eubacterial 16SrRNA gene and a set of primers specific for the gyrB gene of Ca. Midichloria mitochondrii. With the 16S rRNA primers, DNA was amplified from two cell lines (R. (B.) decoloratus line BDE/CTVM14 and I. ricinus line IRE/CTVM19) on one out of three occasions each. Sequencing of the PCR products showed that the two cell lines gave sequences with 100% similarity to Ca. Midichloria mitochondrii. However, negative with the specific primers. Phylogenetic analysis shows that our sequences belong to the subclass alpha-proteobacteria. They were identical to the sequences amplified from the tick I. ricinus. The results suggest that two cell lines, IRE/CTVM19 and BDE/CTVM14, may contain bacteria closely related to Ca. Midichloria mitochondrii and identical with it in a 350-bp part of the 16S rRNA gene sequence. To our knowledge, this constitutes the first report of the presence of DNA similar to the DNA of Ca. Midichloria mitochondrii in tick cell lines.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)437-442
Number of pages6
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • rickettsia-like microorganisms ixodes-ricinus ixodidae endosymbionts acari host widespread scapularis symbiont resides

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