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Wiesinger, Anna; Wenderlein, Jasmin; Ulrich, Sebastian; Hiereth, Stephanie; Chitimia-Dobler, Lidia; Straubinger, Reinhard K. (2023): Revealing the Tick Microbiome: Insights into Midgut and Salivary Gland Microbiota of Female Ixodes ricinus Ticks. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24 (2). p. 1100. ISSN 1422-0067

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The ectoparasite Ixodes ricinus is an important vector for many tick-borne diseases (TBD) in the northern hemisphere, such as Lyme borreliosis, rickettsiosis, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, or tick-borne encephalitis virus. As climate change will lead to rising temperatures in the next years, we expect an increase in tick activity, tick population, and thus in the spread of TBD. Consequently, it has never been more critical to understand relationships within the microbial communities in ticks that might contribute to the tick’s fitness and the occurrence of TBD. Therefore, we analyzed the microbiota in different tick tissues such as midgut, salivary glands, and residual tick material, as well as the microbiota in complete Ixodes ricinus ticks using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. By using a newly developed DNA extraction protocol for tick tissue samples and a self-designed mock community, we were able to detect endosymbionts and pathogens that have been described in the literature previously. Further, this study displayed the usefulness of including a mock community during bioinformatic analysis to identify essential bacteria within the tick.

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