Genomic insights into the Ixodes scapularis tick vector of Lyme disease

Gulia-Nuss M, Nuss AB, Meyer JM, Sonenshine DE, Roe RM, Waterhouse RM, Sattelle DB, de la Fuente J, Ribeiro JM, Megy K, Thimmapuram J1, Miller JR, Walenz BP, Koren S, Hostetler JB, Thiagarajan M, Joardar VS, Hannick LI, Bidwell S, Hammond MP, Young S, Zeng Q, Abrudan JL, Almeida FC, Ayllón N, Bhide K, Bissinger BW, Bonzon-Kulichenko E, Buckingham SD, Caffrey DR, Caimano MJ, Croset V, Driscoll T, Gilbert D, Gillespie JJ, Giraldo-Calderón GI, Grabowski JM, Jiang D, Khalil SM, Kim D, Kocan KM, Koči J, Kuhn RJ, Kurtti TJ, Lees K, Lang EG, Kennedy RC, Kwon H, Perera R, Qi Y, Radolf JD, Sakamoto JM, Sánchez-Gracia A, Severo MS, Silverman N, Šimo L, Tojo M, Tornador C, Van Zee JP, Vázquez J, Vieira FG, Villar M, Wespiser AR, Yang Y, Zhu J, Arensburger P3, Pietrantonio PV, Barker SC, Shao R, Zdobnov EM, Hauser F, Grimmelikhuijzen CJ, Park Y, Rozas J, Benton R, Pedra JH, Nelson DR, Unger MF, Tubio JM, Tu Z, Robertson HM, Shumway M, Sutton, Wortman JR, Lawson D, Wikel SK, Nene VM, Fraser CM, Collins FH, Birren B, Nelson KE, Caler E, Hill CA.
Nat Commun
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Ticks transmit more pathogens to humans and animals than any other arthropod. We describe the 2.1 Gbp nuclear genome of the tick, Ixodes scapularis (Say), which vectors pathogens that cause Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, babesiosis and other diseases. The large genome reflects accumulation of repetitive DNA, new lineages of retro-transposons, and gene architecture patterns resembling ancient metazoans rather than pancrustaceans. Annotation of scaffolds representing ∼57% of the genome, reveals 20,486 protein-coding genes and expansions of gene families associated with tick-host interactions. We report insights from genome analyses into parasitic processes unique to ticks, including host 'questing', prolonged feeding, cuticle synthesis, blood meal concentration, novel methods of haemoglobin digestion, haem detoxification, vitellogenesis and prolonged off-host survival. We identify proteins associated with the agent of human granulocytic anaplasmosis, an emerging disease, and the encephalitis-causing Langat virus, and a population structure correlated to life-history traits and transmission of the Lyme disease agent.