Presenter's Name(s)

Sean T. QuigleyFollow

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Julie Dragon

Project Collaborators

Korin Eckstrom

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Molecular Genetics

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

Presentation Title

Analysis of midgut microbiome diversity and Borrellia presence within Ixodes scapularis ticks sampled from Vermont Farms

Time

11:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Biological Sciences

Abstract

Lyme disease has established itself the most common vector borne disease in the US (CDC 2011), “in 2016, Vermont had the second highest rate of reported Lyme disease cases in the U.S.” Along with being of great importance to public health in Vermont, Lyme is spreading to new areas in the US. Lyme disease is caused by an infection of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi , which is transmitted to humans by a bite from Ixodes scapularis , commonly known as the black-legged tick. Along with Lyme disease, black-legged ticks also have the capability of spreading other diseases such as babesiosis and anaplasmosis.

Borrellia burgdorferi has the ability to colonize the midgut of ticks, which is where it resides when living in carrier ticks. This residence of the midgut has the ability to disrupt the already benign colonized microbes, which make up the tick’s microbiome. For this analysis, a total of 70 ticks were collected over 5 locations. Through collaboration with Dr. Alan Giese at Northern Vermont University, we chose to examine the potential disruption of the tick microbiome in the presence of Borrelia, as well as observable difference within the midgut that result from differences in gender and geographical location of collected ticks. This exploration of the microbiome was done using Illumina Hiseq for sequencing of the 16S bacterial ribosomal RNA of midgut microbes, followed by a microbiome analysis using the QIIME2 pipeline. Additional statistical tests were performed, including differential abundance, Random Forest modeling, and PERMANOVA, in order to test for significant differences between gender and location.

Our results indicate that there is more microbially diversity in the female tick mircrobiome, and that there is possibly a higher prevalence of Borellia in Farmers Hodges (Fairlee, Vt).

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Analysis of midgut microbiome diversity and Borrellia presence within Ixodes scapularis ticks sampled from Vermont Farms

Lyme disease has established itself the most common vector borne disease in the US (CDC 2011), “in 2016, Vermont had the second highest rate of reported Lyme disease cases in the U.S.” Along with being of great importance to public health in Vermont, Lyme is spreading to new areas in the US. Lyme disease is caused by an infection of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi , which is transmitted to humans by a bite from Ixodes scapularis , commonly known as the black-legged tick. Along with Lyme disease, black-legged ticks also have the capability of spreading other diseases such as babesiosis and anaplasmosis.

Borrellia burgdorferi has the ability to colonize the midgut of ticks, which is where it resides when living in carrier ticks. This residence of the midgut has the ability to disrupt the already benign colonized microbes, which make up the tick’s microbiome. For this analysis, a total of 70 ticks were collected over 5 locations. Through collaboration with Dr. Alan Giese at Northern Vermont University, we chose to examine the potential disruption of the tick microbiome in the presence of Borrelia, as well as observable difference within the midgut that result from differences in gender and geographical location of collected ticks. This exploration of the microbiome was done using Illumina Hiseq for sequencing of the 16S bacterial ribosomal RNA of midgut microbes, followed by a microbiome analysis using the QIIME2 pipeline. Additional statistical tests were performed, including differential abundance, Random Forest modeling, and PERMANOVA, in order to test for significant differences between gender and location.

Our results indicate that there is more microbially diversity in the female tick mircrobiome, and that there is possibly a higher prevalence of Borellia in Farmers Hodges (Fairlee, Vt).