Adiponectin-mediated pathways contribute to mammalian homeostasis; however, little is known about adiponectin and adiponectin receptor signaling in arthropods. In this study, we demonstrate that Ixodes scapularis ticks have an adiponectin receptor-like protein (ISARL) but lack adiponectin - suggesting activation by alternative pathways. ISARL expression is significantly upregulated in the tick gut after Borrelia burgdorferi infection suggesting that ISARL-signaling may be co-opted by the Lyme disease agent. Consistent with this, RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated silencing of ISARL significantly reduced the B. burgdorferi burden in the tick. RNA-seq-based transcriptomics and RNAi assays demonstrate that ISARL-mediated phospholipid metabolism by phosphatidylserine synthase I is associated with B. burgdorferi survival. Furthermore, the tick complement C1q-like protein 3 interacts with ISARL, and B. burgdorferi facilitates this process. This study identifies a new tick metabolic pathway that is connected to the life cycle of the Lyme disease spirochete.
The RNA-seq data are available in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository at the National Center for Biotechnology Information under the accession number: GSE169293.
The Lyme Disease agent co-opts adiponectin receptor-mediated signaling in its arthropod vectorNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE169293.
- Erol Fikrig
- Erol Fikrig
- Erol Fikrig
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Animal care and housing were performed according to the Guide for the Care and Use of laboratory Animals of National Institutes of Health, USA. All protocols in this study were approved by the Yale University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (YUIACUC) (approval number 2018-07941).
- Shaeri Mukherjee, University of California, San Francisco, United States
© 2021, Tang et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The mitochondrial genomes of apicomplexans comprise merely three protein-coding genes, alongside a set of thirty to forty genes encoding small RNAs (sRNAs), many of which exhibit homologies to rRNA from E. coli. The expression status and integration of these short RNAs into ribosomes remains unclear and direct evidence for active ribosomes within apicomplexan mitochondria is still lacking. In this study, we conducted small RNA sequencing on the apicomplexan Toxoplasma gondii to investigate the occurrence and function of mitochondrial sRNAs. To enhance the analysis of sRNA sequencing outcomes, we also re-sequenced the T. gondii mitochondrial genome using an improved organelle enrichment protocol and Nanopore sequencing. It has been established previously that the T. gondii genome comprises 21 sequence blocks that undergo recombination among themselves but that their order is not entirely random. The enhanced coverage of the mitochondrial genome allowed us to characterize block combinations at increased resolution. Employing this refined genome for sRNA mapping, we find that many small RNAs originated from the junction sites between protein-coding blocks and rRNA sequence blocks. Surprisingly, such block border sRNAs were incorporated into polysomes together with canonical rRNA fragments and mRNAs. In conclusion, apicomplexan ribosomes are active within polysomes and are indeed assembled through the integration of sRNAs, including previously undetected sRNAs with merged mRNA-rRNA sequences. Our findings lead to the hypothesis that T. gondii's block-based genome organization enables the dual utilization of mitochondrial sequences as both messenger RNAs and ribosomal RNAs, potentially establishing a link between the regulation of rRNA and mRNA expression.