Special Issue "New Frontiers in Tick Research"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz
Website
Guest Editor
UMR BIPAR, INRA, ANSES, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, Université Paris-Est, 94700 Maisons-Alfort, France
Interests: Tick-host-pathogen interactions; Emerging tick-borne pathogens; Anaplasma; Ehrlichia; Epidemiology; Tick microbiome
Dr. Ladislav Šimo
Website
Guest Editor
UMR BIPAR, INRA, ANSES, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, Université Paris-Est, 94700 Maisons-Alfort, France
Interests: Tick neuro-physiology; Signal transduction; Neuropeptides; Neurotransmitters; GPCRs
Dr. James J. Valdés
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, Branišovska 1160/31, CZ-37005, České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Veterinary Research Institute, Hudcova 70, CZ-62100, Brno, Czech Republic
Interests: Thermodynamics of drug therapy against vector-based diseases
Dr. Dasiel Obregón
Website
Guest Editor
School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, N1G 2W1, ON, Canada
Interests: Preventive veterinary medicine; microbial ecology; vector-borne pathogens; host-pathogen interaction; functional metagenomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ticks, along with mites, are arachnids that constitute the subclass Acari. Molecular clock estimates that ticks originated in the Carboniferous era, approximately 300 million years ago. Fossil records also support that ticks were blood-suckers of dinosaurs 100 million years ago. The unusual adaptation of tick physiology that directly reflects the challenges of their fluctuating environment is incomparable to any other blood feeding arthropod. The pharmacopeia of tick salivary proteins is an arsenal for ticks to counteract host defense mechanisms. Although tick salivary proteins belong to known structural families, the function of these salivary proteins has diversified throughout tick evolution. Besides causing direct damage associated with blood feeding, and in some cases toxicity, ticks transmit a wide variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and helminths. New genetic variants of these pathogens frequently emerge with an unforeseen impact on human and animal health. In addition to pathogens, ticks harbor some complex microbial communities that influence tick-pathogen interactions and potentially tick physiology. Currently, tick control overuse acaricides with substantial drawbacks that include environmental damage, human poisonings and the emergence of multiacaricide-resistant ticks. Anti-tick vaccines are an alternative for the control of one-host ticks (e.g., Rhipicephalus microplus). Implementing vaccination, however, has significant limitations - specifically against ticks that fed on multiple hosts during their life cycle. The aim of this Special Issue, ‘New Frontiers in Tick Research’, is to explore the research landscape to find novel developments that may impact tick biology, tick-borne pathogen epidemiology, and strategies for controlling ticks and tick-borne pathogens.

Dr. Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz
Dr. Ladislav Šimo
Dr. James J. Valdés
Dr. Dasiel Obregón
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pathogens is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Vector physiology
  • Structural biology of vector/viral proteins
  • Functional vector metagenomics
  • Factors shaping the structure of vector microbiome
  • Emerging vector-borne pathogens
  • Vector-host-pathogen interactions
  • Challenges in vector-borne pathogen detection
  • Drug discovery in vector-borne pathogens
  • Biocontrol of vectors
  • Advanced tools in vector researh

Published Papers (6 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Retrospective Assessment of Temperature Trends in Northern Europe Reveals a Deep Impact on the Life Cycle of Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae)
Pathogens 2020, 9(5), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9050345 - 01 May 2020
Abstract
This study modelled the changes in the development processes of the health-threatening tick Ixodes ricinus in Northern Europe as driven by the trends of temperature (1950–2018). We used the ECA&D dataset to calculate the annual accumulated temperature to obtain the development rates of [...] Read more.
This study modelled the changes in the development processes of the health-threatening tick Ixodes ricinus in Northern Europe as driven by the trends of temperature (1950–2018). We used the ECA&D dataset to calculate the annual accumulated temperature to obtain the development rates of the oviposition, incubation, larva–nymph, and nymph–adult molts. Annual values were used to ascertain the trend in development rates of each stage. The ecological classification of Northern Europe (LANMAP2) was used to summarize results. The temperature in 1950–2018 clearly increased in the target territory. The development rates of every tested life cycle process were faster along the time series. Faster oviposition and incubation rates resulted in central Sweden, Baltic countries, and parts of Finland. Faster molting rates were observed in the same territories and in large areas of Western Norway. The trend of temperature in the period 1950–2018 shows a consistent inflection point around 1990, demonstrating that the increased annual accumulated temperature has a deeper impact on the life cycle of I. ricinus since approximately 1990. Faster development rates could be part of the processes driving the reported spread of the tick in the target area and should be considered as a serious threat to human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Tick Research)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Tripartite Interactions among Ixodiphagus hookeri, Ixodes ricinus and Deer: Differential Interference with Transmission Cycles of Tick-Borne Pathogens
Pathogens 2020, 9(5), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9050339 - 30 Apr 2020
Abstract
For the development of sustainable control of tick-borne diseases, insight is needed in biological factors that affect tick populations. Here, the ecological interactions among Ixodiphagus hookeri, Ixodes ricinus, and two vertebrate species groups were investigated in relation to their effects on [...] Read more.
For the development of sustainable control of tick-borne diseases, insight is needed in biological factors that affect tick populations. Here, the ecological interactions among Ixodiphagus hookeri, Ixodes ricinus, and two vertebrate species groups were investigated in relation to their effects on tick-borne disease risk. In 1129 questing ticks, I. hookeri DNA was detected more often in I. ricinus nymphs (4.4%) than in larvae (0.5%) and not in adults. Therefore, we determined the infestation rate of I. hookeri in nymphs from 19 forest sites, where vertebrate, tick, and tick-borne pathogen communities had been previously quantified. We found higher than expected co-occurrence rates of I. hookeri with deer-associated Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and lower than expected rates with rodent-associated Borrelia afzelii and Neoehrlichia mikurensis. The prevalence of I. hookeri in nymphs varied between 0% and 16% and was positively correlated with the encounter probability of ungulates and the densities of all life stages of I. ricinus. Lastly, we investigated the emergence of I. hookeri from artificially fed, field-collected nymphs. Adult wasps emerged from seven of the 172 fed nymphs. From these observations, we inferred that I. hookeri is parasitizing I. ricinus larvae that are feeding on deer, rather than on rodents or in the vegetation. Since I. hookeri populations depend on deer abundance, the main propagation host of I. ricinus, these wasps have no apparent effect on tick populations. The presence of I. hookeri may directly interfere with the transmission cycle of A. phagocytophilum, but not with that of B. afzelii or N. mikurensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Tick Research)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Resistance of Tick Gut Microbiome to Anti-Tick Vaccines, Pathogen Infection and Antimicrobial Peptides
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040309 - 22 Apr 2020
Abstract
Ixodes scapularis ticks harbor microbial communities including pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbes. Pathogen infection increases the expression of several tick gut proteins, which disturb the tick gut microbiota and impact bacterial biofilm formation. Anaplasma phagocytophilum induces ticks to express I. scapularis antifreeze glycoprotein (IAFGP), [...] Read more.
Ixodes scapularis ticks harbor microbial communities including pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbes. Pathogen infection increases the expression of several tick gut proteins, which disturb the tick gut microbiota and impact bacterial biofilm formation. Anaplasma phagocytophilum induces ticks to express I. scapularis antifreeze glycoprotein (IAFGP), a protein with antimicrobial activity, while Borrelia burgdorferi induces the expression of PIXR. Here, we tested the resistance of I. scapularis microbiome to A. phagocytophilum infection, antimicrobial peptide IAFGP, and anti-tick immunity specific to PIXR. We demonstrate that A. phagocytophilum infection and IAFGP affect the taxonomic composition and taxa co-occurrence networks, but had limited impact on the functional traits of tick microbiome. In contrast, anti-tick immunity disturbed the taxonomic composition and the functional profile of tick microbiome, by increasing both the taxonomic and pathways diversity. Mechanistically, we show that anti-tick immunity increases the representation and importance of the polysaccharide biosynthesis pathways involved in biofilm formation, while these pathways are under-represented in the microbiome of ticks infected by A. phagocytophilum or exposed to IAFGP. These analyses revealed that tick microbiota is highly sensitive to anti-tick immunity, while it is less sensitive to pathogen infection and antimicrobial peptides. Results suggest that biofilm formation may be a defensive response of tick microbiome to anti-tick immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Tick Research)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Efficient Transovarial Transmission of Babesia Spp. in Rhipicephalus microplus Ticks Fed on Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040280 - 11 Apr 2020
Abstract
Water buffaloes can be infected by tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) in endemic areas where cattle and buffalo coexist. Among TBPs affecting buffaloes is the Apicomplexan hemoparasites Babesia bovis and B. bigemina, transmitted by Rhipicephalus microplus ticks. However, little empirical evidence exists on whether [...] Read more.
Water buffaloes can be infected by tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) in endemic areas where cattle and buffalo coexist. Among TBPs affecting buffaloes is the Apicomplexan hemoparasites Babesia bovis and B. bigemina, transmitted by Rhipicephalus microplus ticks. However, little empirical evidence exists on whether buffalo can support TBPs’ infection and transmission. A cohort study was designed to measure the infestation levels of R. microplus in buffaloes as well as the ability of buffalo-fed ticks to transmit B. bovis and B. bigemina to their offspring. Tick infestation of different life stages was quantified in cattle and buffalo kept in field conditions in western Cuba. Engorged adult female ticks were allowed to lay eggs in controlled conditions of humidity and temperature, and reproductive parameters were measured and analyzed. Hosts and tick larvae were tested for the presence of Babesia spp. using species-specific qPCR assays. Tick infestation was not observed in adult buffaloes. However, buffalo and cattle calves were equally infested, although the larval survival rate was higher in cattle calves than in buffalo calves. All larval pools (31) obtained from the adult female ticks were positive for B. bovis, whereas only 68% (21/31) was positive for B. bigemina. Among the 10 larval pools negative for B. bigemina, three proceeded from adult females fed on Babesia-negative buffaloes. The other seven pools were from Babesia-positive animals, three from cattle and four from buffalo calves. Babesia infection levels in tick larvae, quantified by qPCR, were similar in female ticks fed on buffalo and bovine calves. We conclude that water buffalo can sustain tick vector populations and support Babesia infection in levels high enough as to be infective for ticks. Our results also validated the hypothesis that adult female ticks fed on buffalo can transmit the pathogens B. bovis and B. bigemina to their offspring. Nevertheless, further laboratory studies are needed to address the question of whether the transovarial transmission of Babesia occurs in the following settings: (1) When adult females are infected previous to the feeding on the buffalo or/and (2) when the adult females acquire the infection while feeding on the buffalo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Tick Research)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Upscaling the Surveillance of Tick-Borne Pathogens in the French Caribbean Islands
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030176 - 01 Mar 2020
Abstract
Despite the high burden of vector-borne disease in (sub)tropical areas, few information are available regarding the diversity of tick and tick-borne pathogens circulating in the Caribbean. Management and control of vector-borne disease require actual epidemiological data to better assess and anticipate the risk [...] Read more.
Despite the high burden of vector-borne disease in (sub)tropical areas, few information are available regarding the diversity of tick and tick-borne pathogens circulating in the Caribbean. Management and control of vector-borne disease require actual epidemiological data to better assess and anticipate the risk of (re)emergence of tick-borne diseases in the region. To simplify and reduce the costs of such large-scale surveys, we implemented a high-throughput microfluidic real-time PCR system suitable for the screening of the main bacterial and parasitic genera involved in tick-borne disease and potentially circulating in the area. We used the new screening tool to perform an exploratory epidemiological study on 132 adult specimens of Amblyomma variegatum and 446 of Rhipicephalus microplus collected in Guadeloupe and Martinique. Not only the system was able to detect the main pathogens of the area—Ehrlichia ruminantium, Rickettsia africae, Anaplasma marginale, Babesia bigemina and Babesia bovis—but the system also provided evidence of unsuspected microorganisms in Caribbean ticks, belonging to the Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Borrelia and Leishmania genera. Our study demonstrated how high-throughput microfluidic real-time PCR technology can assist large-scale epidemiological studies, providing a rapid overview of tick-borne pathogen and microorganism diversity, and opening up new research perspectives for the epidemiology of tick-borne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Tick Research)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Evaluation of Disease Causality of Rare Ixodes ricinus-Borne Infections in Europe
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020150 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In Europe, Ixodes ricinus ticks transmit pathogens such as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). In addition, there is evidence for transmission to humans from I. ricinus of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia divergens, Babesia microti, Babesia venatorum, Borrelia miyamotoi [...] Read more.
In Europe, Ixodes ricinus ticks transmit pathogens such as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). In addition, there is evidence for transmission to humans from I. ricinus of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia divergens, Babesia microti, Babesia venatorum, Borrelia miyamotoi, Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Rickettsia helvetica and Rickettsia monacensis. However, whether infection with these potential tick-borne pathogens results in human disease has not been fully demonstrated for all of these tick-borne microorganisms. To evaluate the available evidence for a causative relation between infection and disease, the current study analyses European case reports published from 2008 to 2018, supplemented with information derived from epidemiological and experimental studies. The evidence for human disease causality in Europe found in this review appeared to be strongest for A. phagocytophilum and B. divergens. Nonetheless, some knowledge gaps still exist. Importantly, comprehensive evidence for pathogenicity is lacking for the remaining tick-borne microorganisms. Such evidence could be gathered best through prospective studies, for example, studies enrolling patients with a fever after a tick bite, the development of specific new serological tools, isolation of these microorganisms from ticks and patients and propagation in vitro, and through experimental studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Tick Research)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Challenges in vector-borne pathogen detection.

By Dr. Huarrisson Azevedo Santos

 

Challenges in tick-borne pathogen detection, the case for Babesia spp detection.

By Dr. Julio V Figueroa

 

Back to TopTop