|Title||Multiomics Reveals Symbionts, Pathogens, and Tissue-Specific Microbiome of Blacklegged Ticks (Ixodes scapularis) from a Lyme Disease Hot Spot in Southeastern Ontario, Canada|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Paulson A, Loughheed S, Huang D, Colautti RI|
As a vector of human health concern, blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) transmit pathogens that cause tick-borne diseases (TBDs), including Lyme disease (LD). Several hot spots of elevated LD risk have emerged across Canada as I. scapularis expands its range. Focusing on a hot spot in southeastern Ontario, we used high-throughput sequencing to characterize the microbiome of whole ticks and dissected salivary glands and midguts. Compared with whole ticks, salivary glands and midguts were more diverse and associated with distinct bacterial communities that are less dominated by Rickettsia endosymbiont bacteria and are enriched for pathogenic bacteria, including a B. burgdorferi sensu lato-associated Borrelia sp., Borrelia miyamotoi, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. We also found evidence of coinfection of I. scapularis by multiple pathogens. Overall, our study highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with the surveillance of the microbiome of I. scapularis for pathogen detection using metabarcoding and metatranscriptome approaches.