Ticks have the ability to detect a cytokine from infected mammalian blood, triggering a defense mechanism against bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
A team of researchers from the University of Maryland has uncovered the first inter-species signaling pathway between a host and an arthropod parasite. The pathway involves molecules in the host’s blood triggering the immunity and development of the parasite.
The study demonstrates that when ticks feed on blood from mice infected with the Lyme disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, a protein from the mouse immune system activates receptors on tick cells, signaling the tick’s organs to develop more quickly and producing an immune response before the bacteria can infect the tick.
Read more at: https://scitechdaily.com/breakthrough-discovery-unlocks-mysteries-surrounding-parasite-immunity-and-development/