A symbiont of the thick Ixodes ricinus invades and consumes mitochondria in a mode similar to that of the parasitic bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus

L. Sacchi, E. Bigliardi, S. Corona, T. Beninati, N. Lo, A. Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We have recently performed molecular characterisation of an intracellular alpha-proteobacterium, named IricES1, which resides in the ovarian tissue of female Ixodes ricinus ticks from Italy. A unique characteristic of this bacterium is its ability to invade the mitochondria of the cells in which it resides. Although some ultrastructural studies have been performed on close relatives of this bacterium from I. ricinus in England and Switzerland, a number of questions remain about its movement within ovarian tissues and mitochondria. We have performed the first detailed ultrastructural examination of IricES1 in engorged female adult I. ricinus. Among our findings was that the bacterium enters mitochondria in a similar way to that employed by the 'predatory' bacterium Bdellovibro bacteriovorus, that is, between the inner and outer membranes. It then appears to multiply, with the new 'colony' consuming the mitochondrial matrix. Despite having many of their mitochondria consumed, oocytes appear to develop normally, and the bacteria are likely to be vertically transferred to all eggs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalTissue and Cell
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004

Keywords

  • Alpha-proteobacterium IricES1
  • Ixodes ricinus
  • Mitochondria invasion
  • Ovary
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Cell Biology

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