Query: NC_008369:1702885 Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica OSU18, complete genome Lineage: Francisella tularensis; Francisella; Francisellaceae; Thiotrichales; Proteobacteria; Bacteria General Information: Isolated from a beaver that died of tularemia in Oklahoma in 1978. Causative agent of tularemia. This organism was first identified by Edward Francis as the causative agent of a plague-like illness that affected squirrels in Tulare county in California in the early part of the 20th century. The organism now bears his name. The disease, which has been noted throughout recorded history, can be transmitted to humans by infected ticks or deerflies, infected meat, or by aerosol, and thus is a potential bioterrorism agent. This organism has a high infectivity rate, and can invade phagocytic and nonphagocytic cells, multiplying rapidly. Once within a macrophage, the organism can escape the phagosome and live in the cytosol. It is an aquatic organism, and can be found living inside protozoans, similar to what is observed with Legionella.
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General Information: This strain was isolated in the USA from the soft tick Ornithodoros turicatae. Borrelia turicatae is the causative agent of tick-borne relapsing fever in the southwestern USA. Ticks become infected with Borrelia while feeding on an infected mammal, usually a rodent or squirrel. Borrelia then multiplies rapidly, causing a generalized infection throughout the tick. While feeding, the tick passes the spirochete into a mammalian host through its infectious saliva. Relapsing fever is characterized by period of chills, fever, headache, and malaise, followed by an asymptomatic, followed by another episode of symptoms. The cycle of relapsing is due to changes in the surface proteins of Borrelia, which allow it to avoid detection and removal by the host immune system. This antigenic variation is the result of homologous recombination of silent proteins into an expressed locus, causing partial or complete replacement of one serotype with another. These plasmids carry genes involved in antigenic variation and pathogenicity.