is an emerging zoonotic pathogen that causes human and animal granulocytic anaplasmosis and tick-borne fever of ruminants. This obligate intracellular bacterium evolved to use common strategies to establish infection in both vertebrate hosts and tick vectors. Herein, we discuss the different strategies used by the pathogen to modulate cell apoptosis and establish infection in host cells. In vertebrate neutrophils and human promyelocytic cells HL-60, both pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic factors have been reported. Tissue-specific differences in tick response to infection and differential regulation of apoptosis pathways have been observed in adult female midguts and salivary glands in response to infection with A. phagocytophilum.
In tick midguts, pathogen inhibits apoptosis through the Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK/STAT) pathway, while in salivary glands, the intrinsic apoptosis pathways is inhibited but tick cells respond with the activation of the extrinsic apoptosis pathway. In Ixodes scapularis
ISE6 cells, bacterial infection down-regulates mitochondrial porin and manipulates protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum and cell glucose metabolism to inhibit apoptosis and facilitate infection, whereas in IRE/CTVM20 tick cells, inhibition of apoptosis appears to be regulated by lower caspase levels. These results suggest that A. phagocytophilum
uses different mechanisms to inhibit apoptosis for infection of both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts.
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