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«Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii» is the sheep tick Ixodes ricinus endosymbiont. This unique bacteria can occupy and persist within the mitochondria of animals. I. ricinus is an important vector of human pathogens in natural focal of infections. «Candidatus M. mitochondrii» found in the intermembrane space of mitochondria and in the cytoplasm of ovarian cells in 100% females of I. ricinus. The bacteria contain flagella in the salivary glands of ticks. «Candidatus M. mitochondrii» has two groups of unique genes for the members of the order Rickettsiales (cbb3 cytochrome oxidase and flagellin), which allows it to play an important role in embryogenesis of the I. ricinus ticks and cause seroconversion in 58% of patients after ticks bloodsucking. This bacterium formed MALOs group (midichloria and like organisms) with genetically closely related organisms which demonstrated a association with a wide range of host from arthropods to ciliates, amoebae, sponges, fish and various animals and humans. Now there is no data about replication the «Candidatus M. mitochondrii» in humans and pathogenicity of this microorganism. Although a high percentage of seropositive samples obtained from patients after bloodsucking of I. ricinus in anamnesis, this bacterium cannot yet be regarded as responsible for the pathology as known human pathogenic from order Rickettsi-ales (Rickettsia, Anaplasma and Ehrlichia spp.). Needed to reconsider the attitude to an immune response to the saliva of I. ricinus, taking into account the potential impact of «Candidatus M. mitochondrii». It is considered highly possible role of this bacterium in the immune response and immunomodulation in humans with bloodsucking of I. ricinus in anamnesis. DNA of «Candidatus M. mitochondrii» was the first time detected in I. ricinus ticks from European part of Russia.

About the authors

S. N. Shpynov

N.F. Gamaleya Federal Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Moscow, Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.
Email: stan63@inbox.ru

PhD, MD (Medicine), Head of Laboratory of Ecology of Rickettsiae

Russian Federation


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