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Microbe toxin genes have jumped to ticks, mites and other animals

It’s a world, and have been living in it for a long time. It’s of no surprise that have a sophisticated arsenal to compete with each other for valuable resources in the environment. In 2010, work led by Department of Microbiology Associate Professor Joseph Mougous uncovered a weaponry system used in this warfare between . The combatants inject deadly toxins into rival cells.

[Tick Resting on Grass]
This is a tick resting on a blade of grass. Some species of ticks are among the many animals that have incorporated bacterial toxin genes into their genomes.
Credit: Matt Pinski/University of Washington


The research published was funded by the National Institute of Health (AI080609, AI083640), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (HDTRA-1-13-014), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/I020012/1), with additional support from Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine