Murine typhus is a febrile disease caused by the bacterium, Rickettsia typhi (R. typhi), and transmitted via infected fleas. This study investigated midgut responses of infected versus uninfected cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) by constructing cDNA libraries and examining transcript levels. Select C. felis serine proteases, GTPases and defense response genes were compared to identify differences in gene expression between the two states of infection. A total of 1152 transcripts from both libraries were sequenced, generating 906 high quality sequences, 472 from the uninfected and 434 from the infected midgut library.
With over 2,500 identified species across the globe, fleas are notorious veterinary pests and vectors of pathogens, including Rickettsia typhi (murine typhus), R. felis (murine typhus-like illness), Bartonella henselae (cat-scratch disease), and myxoma virus (Myxomatosis). Speciation of fleas is reliant on distinguishing morphological features; however, studies have also used certain mitochondrial genes for systematic analyses. This dataset is comprised of the C. felis mitochondrial genome, a novel resource for comparative genomics of fleas and other insects. The genome (Genbank accession number: MT594468) encodes the full repertoire of 37 genes, including 22 tRNAs, 13 protein coding genes, and 2 rRNAs with the conserved synteny observed in those of other Siphonaptera mitogenomes and the general insect mitochondrial gene order.