Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 40, Number 2, March-April 2009
Adaptative strategies of vector-borne pathogens to vectorial transmission
Number of page(s) 18
Published online 21 April 2009
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2009) 40:37
How to cite this article: Vet. Res. (2009) 40:37
DOI: 10.1051/vetres/2009020


Babesia and its hosts: adaptation to long-lasting interactions as a way to achieve efficient transmission

Alain Chauvin1, Emmanuelle Moreau1, Sarah Bonnet2, Olivier Plantard3 and Laurence Malandrin3

1  École nationale vétérinaire, UMR 1300 BIOEPAR, ENVN, Atlanpôle – La Chantrerie, BP 40706, F-44307 Nantes Cedex 03, France
2  INRA, UMR BIPAR, ENVA, 7 avenue du Général de Gaulle, 94700 Maisons-Alfort Cedex, France
3  INRA, UMR 1300 BIOEPAR, ENVN, Atlanpôle – La Chantrerie, BP 40706, F-44307 Nantes Cedex 03, France

Received 4 August 2008; accepted 16 April 2009; published online 21 April 2009

Abstract - Babesia, the causal agent of babesiosis, are tick-borne apicomplexan protozoa. True babesiae (Babesia genus sensu stricto) are biologically characterized by direct development in erythrocytes and by transovarial transmission in the tick. A large number of true Babesia species have been described in various vertebrate and tick hosts. This review presents the genus then discusses specific adaptations of Babesia spp. to their hosts to achieve efficient transmission. The main adaptations lead to long-lasting interactions which result in the induction of two reservoirs: in the vertebrate host during low long-term parasitemia and throughout the life cycle of the tick host as a result of transovarial and transstadial transmission. The molecular bases of these adaptations in vertebrate hosts are partially known but few of the tick-host interaction mechanisms have been elucidated.

Key words: Babesia / transmission / persistence / vertebrate host / tick host

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2009