Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Ap) modifies the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) of tick cells

THE Group of genomics, proteomics and biotechnology in health and biotechnology (wise) of the IREC group has described as the intracellular bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Ap) modifies the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) of tick cells. In particular, Ap acts increasing the expression of miRNA isc-mir-79, thus facilitating the infection through the blockade of its protein target Roundabout 2 (Robo2).

The miRNAs are a class of small non-coding RNAs, but with important regulatory roles in multicellular organisms, including the innate and adaptive immune response for the control of bacterial, parasitic and viral infections. These molecules are a regulatory mechanism, normally through the abolition or reduction of its target protein. The pathogens can modify these miRNAs in the host, thus facilitating infection and their own survival.

In this study, they have been able to see the miRNAs affected in response to infection by Ap in cells of the vector tick Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection subverts carbohydrate metabolic pathways in the tick vector, Ixodes scapularis. The isc-mir-79 miRNA has shown to be controlled by the bacteria in such a way that it favours infection. In addition, isc-mir-79 belongs to the family of miRNAs mir-9, which is involved in the regulation of many biological processes such as cell differentiation, apoptosis and neurogenesis, immunity, and they are also involved in cancer and infectious diseases viral.

To study the mechanism affected by isc-mir-79 that facilitates infection by Ap, a target called Robo2 protein was identified. Several studies showed that this protein silencing favored an increase in infection. Robo2 belongs to the family of immunoglobulins, so it is possible that Ap will benefit the overexpression of isc-mir-79 to bind and regulate to Robo2, eliminating or reducing the beneficial proinflammatory responses that Robo2 triggers and thus facilitating infection.

Link to the journal:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45658-2

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