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Communication

The Stable Matching Problem in TBEV Enzootic Circulation: How Important Is the Perfect Tick-Virus Match?

1
Institute for Parasitology, Centre for Infection Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30559 Hanover, Germany
2
Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonosis, University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover, 30559 Hanover, Germany
3
Department of Pediatric Pneumology, Allergology and Neonatology, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hanover, Germany
4
Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Neuherbergstraße 11, 80937 Munich, Germany
5
Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30559 Hanover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2021, 9(1), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9010196
Received: 21 December 2020 / Revised: 13 January 2021 / Accepted: 13 January 2021 / Published: 19 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick-Borne Encephalitis)
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), like other arthropod-transmitted viruses, depends on specific vectors to complete its enzootic cycle. It has been long known that Ixodes ricinus ticks constitute the main vector for TBEV in Europe. In contrast to the wide distribution of the TBEV vector, the occurrence of TBEV transmission is focal and often restricted to a small parcel of land, whereas surrounding areas with seemingly similar habitat parameters are free of TBEV. Thus, the question arises which factors shape this focal distribution of TBEV in the natural habitat. To shed light on factors driving TBEV-focus formation, we used tick populations from two TBEV-foci in Lower Saxony and two TBEV-foci from Bavaria with their respective virus isolates as a showcase to analyze the impact of specific virus isolate-tick population relationships. Using artificial blood feeding and field-collected nymphal ticks as experimental means, our investigation showed that the probability of getting infected with the synonymous TBEV isolate as compared to the nonsynonymous TBEV isolate was elevated but significantly higher only in one of the four TBEV foci. More obviously, median viral RNA copy numbers were significantly higher in the synonymous virus–tick population pairings. These findings may present a hint for a coevolutionary adaptation of virus and tick populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: tick-borne encephalitis virus; Ixodes ricinus; TBEV endemic focus; in vitro feeding tick-borne encephalitis virus; Ixodes ricinus; TBEV endemic focus; in vitro feeding
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MDPI and ACS Style

Liebig, K.; Boelke, M.; Grund, D.; Schicht, S.; Bestehorn-Willmann, M.; Chitimia-Dobler, L.; Dobler, G.; Jung, K.; Becker, S.C. The Stable Matching Problem in TBEV Enzootic Circulation: How Important Is the Perfect Tick-Virus Match? Microorganisms 2021, 9, 196. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9010196

AMA Style

Liebig K, Boelke M, Grund D, Schicht S, Bestehorn-Willmann M, Chitimia-Dobler L, Dobler G, Jung K, Becker SC. The Stable Matching Problem in TBEV Enzootic Circulation: How Important Is the Perfect Tick-Virus Match? Microorganisms. 2021; 9(1):196. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9010196

Chicago/Turabian Style

Liebig, Katrin, Mathias Boelke, Domenic Grund, Sabine Schicht, Malena Bestehorn-Willmann, Lidia Chitimia-Dobler, Gerhard Dobler, Klaus Jung, and Stefanie C. Becker 2021. "The Stable Matching Problem in TBEV Enzootic Circulation: How Important Is the Perfect Tick-Virus Match?" Microorganisms 9, no. 1: 196. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9010196

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