The recent evolution of a maternally-inherited endosymbiont of ticks led to the emergence of the Q fever pathogen, Coxiella burnetii

Duron Olivier, Noel Valérie, McCoy Karen D., Bonazzi Matteo, Sidi-Boumedine Karim, Morel Olivier, Vavre Fabrice, Zenner Lionel, Jourdain Elsa, Durand Patrick, Arnathau Céline, Renaud François, Trape Jean-François, Biguezoton Abel S., Cremaschi Julie, Dietrich Muriel, Leger Elsa, Appelgren Anaïs, Dupraz Marlene, Gómez-Díaz Elena, Diatta Georges, Dayo Guiguigbaza Kossigan, Adakal Hassane, Zoungrana Adrien, Vial Laurence, Chevillon Christine. 2015. The recent evolution of a maternally-inherited endosymbiont of ticks led to the emergence of the Q fever pathogen, Coxiella burnetii. PLoS Pathogens, 11 (5):e1004892, 23 p.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact Revue en libre accès total
Published version - Anglais
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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : VIROLOGY / Quartile : Outlier, Sujet : PARASITOLOGY / Quartile : Q1, Sujet : MICROBIOLOGY

Additional Information : Jeux de données enregistrés dans la base GenBank du numéro d'accès KP994768 au KP994862, KP994678 au KP994767, KP985445 au KP985537, KP985265 au KP985357, KP985358 au KP985444.

Abstract : Q fever is a highly infectious disease with a worldwide distribution. Its causative agent, the intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii, infects a variety of vertebrate species, including humans. Its evolutionary origin remains almost entirely unknown and uncertainty persists regarding the identity and lifestyle of its ancestors. A few tick species were recently found to harbor maternally-inherited Coxiella-like organisms engaged in symbiotic interactions, but their relationships to the Q fever pathogen remain unclear. Here, we extensively sampled ticks, identifying new and atypical Coxiella strains from 40 of 58 examined species, and used this data to infer the evolutionary processes leading to the emergence of C. burnetii. Phylogenetic analyses of multi-locus typing and whole-genome sequencing data revealed that Coxiella-like organisms represent an ancient and monophyletic group allied to ticks. Remarkably, all known C. burnetii strains originate within this group and are the descendants of a Coxiella-like progenitor hosted by ticks. Using both colony-reared and field-collected gravid females, we further establish the presence of highly efficient maternal transmission of these Coxiella -like organisms in four examined tick species, a pattern coherent with an endosymbiotic lifestyle. Our laboratory culture assays also showed that these Coxiella -like organisms were not amenable to culture in the vertebrate cell environment, suggesting dif- ferent metabolic requirements compared to C . burnetii . Altogether, this corpus of data dem- onstrates that C . burnetii recently evolved from an inherited symbiont of ticks which succeeded in infecting vertebrate cells, likely by the acquisition of novel virulence factors. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Coxiella burnetii, Évolution, Symbiote, Fièvre q, Rhipicephalus, Relation hôte pathogène, Virulence, Vertèbre, Variation génétique, Héritabilité, Femelle

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Monde

Mots-clés complémentaires : Rhipicephalus microplus, Tique, Endosymbiote

Classification Agris : L73 - Animal diseases
L72 - Pests of animals

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 4 (2014-2018) - Santé des animaux et des plantes

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Duron Olivier, CNRS (FRA)
  • Noel Valérie, IRD (FRA)
  • McCoy Karen D., IRD (FRA)
  • Bonazzi Matteo, CNRS (FRA)
  • Sidi-Boumedine Karim, ANSES (FRA)
  • Morel Olivier, CNRS (FRA)
  • Vavre Fabrice, UCLB (FRA)
  • Zenner Lionel, CNRS (FRA)
  • Jourdain Elsa, CNRS (FRA)
  • Durand Patrick, CNRS (FRA)
  • Arnathau Céline, CNRS (FRA)
  • Renaud François, CNRS (FRA)
  • Trape Jean-François, IRD (SEN)
  • Biguezoton Abel S., CNRS (FRA)
  • Cremaschi Julie, CNRS (FRA)
  • Dietrich Muriel, CNRS (FRA)
  • Leger Elsa, IRD (FRA)
  • Appelgren Anaïs, CNRS (FRA)
  • Dupraz Marlene, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR CMAEE (FRA)
  • Gómez-Díaz Elena, IRD (FRA)
  • Diatta Georges, IRD (SEN)
  • Dayo Guiguigbaza Kossigan, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR INTERTRYP (FRA)
  • Adakal Hassane, CIRDES (BFA)
  • Zoungrana Adrien, CIRDES (BFA)
  • Vial Laurence, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR CMAEE (FRA)
  • Chevillon Christine, CNRS (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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