1887

Abstract

An intracellular bacterium with the unique ability to enter mitochondria exists in the European vector of Lyme disease, the hard tick . Previous phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequences suggested that the bacterium formed a divergent lineage within the (). Here, we present additional phylogenetic evidence, based on the gene sequence, that confirms the phylogenetic position of the bacterium. Based on these data, as well as electron microscopy (EM), hybridization and other observations, we propose the name ‘ Midichloria mitochondrii’ for this bacterium. The symbiont appears to be ubiquitous in females of across the tick's distribution, while lower prevalence is observed in males (44 %). Based on EM and hybridization studies, the presence of ‘ M. mitochondrii’ in females appears to be restricted to ovarian cells. The bacterium was found to be localized both in the cytoplasm and in the intermembrane space of the mitochondria of ovarian cells. ‘ M. mitochondrii’ is the first bacterium to be identified that resides within animal mitochondria.

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2006-11-01
2019-10-21
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