The role of selleck inhibitor D. massiliensis in tick natural history and its influence on tick’s
fitness are unknown. However, a recent study suggests that this bacterium is pathogenic towards humans (Subramanian et al., 2011). Spiroplasmas (class Mollicutes) are helical, motile, wall-less prokaryotes associated with a variety of insects, other arthropods and some plant hosts (Tully et al., 1981). They are usually considered as commensal organisms in their arthropod hosts, but several are pathogenic for insects and plants. Several species were associated with a male-killing phenomenon (Jiggins et al., 2000). Spiroplasmas have been identified in ticks (Haemaphysalis leporispalustris and Ixodes pacificus) and blood-sucking members of the Diptera, including horseflies
(Tabanus spp.), deerflies (Chrysops spp.) and mosquitoes (Aedes spp., Culex spp.). Spiroplasma ixodetis was first isolated from I. pacificus, a principal vector of Lyme disease on the west coast of the USA (Tully et al., 1981). Later, a nearly identical bacterium Navitoclax concentration was isolated from a pool of Ixodes ticks in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) (Henning et al., 2006), and another strain of Spiroplasma spp. (genetically very close to S. ixodetis) was recently isolated on the XTC cell line from a I. ricinus tick sampled in Slovakia, where prevalence of tick infection by Spiroplasma was 2.5% (Subramanian et al., in press). Virtually nothing is known about the relationship between Spiroplasma and ticks. However, several publications support the pathogenic role Selleckchem Alectinib of this bacterium towards humans. Thus, Lorenz et al. (2002) found a Spiroplasma
sp. infection causing a unilateral cataract in a premature human baby. Spiroplasmas have been reported to be involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as scrapie or Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (Bastian et al., 2004, 2011). In addition to the four potential tick endosymbionts discussed above and to established human pathogens known to be transmitted by ticks (Table 3), several other fastidious intracellular bacteria have been shown to be closely associated with ticks, including Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii (Sassera et al., 2006), Francisella-like bacteria (Sun et al., 2000), Wolbachia spp., and different Rickettsiales. More studies are needed in this emerging field, whose results may have many applications, including the control of vectorborne diseases of humans and animals. Indeed, the concept of targeting endosymbionts as a mean to control ticks and tickborne diseases has been tested using a chemotherapeutic approach (Ghosh et al., 2007). Novel methods for the isolation and characterization of tick-associated bacteria will likely promote new approaches to control ticks by targeting their endosymbionts.