Editor: Gary King
Distribution and molecular characterization of Wolbachia endosymbionts and filarial nematodes in Maryland populations of the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)
Article first published online: 21 APR 2011
© 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume 77, Issue 1, pages 50–56, July 2011
How to Cite
Zhang, X., Norris, D. E. and Rasgon, J. L. (2011), Distribution and molecular characterization of Wolbachia endosymbionts and filarial nematodes in Maryland populations of the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 77: 50–56. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01089.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 15 MAR 2011 10:01AM EST
- Received 27 July 2010; revised 14 February 2011; accepted 28 February 2011., Final version published online 21 April 2011.
- Amblyomma americanum;
The lone star tick Amblyomma americanum is host to a wide diversity of endosymbiotic bacteria. We identified a novel Wolbachia symbiont infecting A. americanum. Multilocus sequence typing phylogenetically placed the endosymbiont in the increasingly diverse F supergroup. We assayed a total of 1031 ticks (119 females, 78 males and 834 nymphs in 89 pools) from 16 Maryland populations for infection. Infection frequencies in the natural populations were approximately 5% in females and <2% (minimum infection rate) in nymphs; infection was not detected in males. Infected populations were only observed in southern Maryland, suggesting the possibility that Wolbachia is currently invading Maryland A. americanum populations. Because F supergroup Wolbachia have been detected previously in filarial nematodes, tick samples were assayed for nematodes by PCR. Filarial nematodes were detected in 70% and 9% of Wolbachia-positive and Wolbachia-negative tick samples, respectively. While nematodes were more common in Wolbachia-positive tick samples, the lack of a strict infection concordance (Wolbachia-positive, nematode-negative and Wolbachia-negative, nematode-positive ticks) suggests that Wolbachia prevalence in ticks is not due to nematode infection. Supporting this hypothesis, phylogenetic analysis indicated that the nematodes were likely a novel species within the genus Acanthocheilonema, which has been previously shown to be Wolbachia-free.