Tick control on livestock relies principally on the use of acaricides but the development of acaricide resistance and concerns for environmental pollution underscore the need for alternative control methods, for instance through the use of anti-tick vaccines. Two commercial vaccines based on the recombinant Bm86 protein from Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus ticks were developed. Partial protection of the Bm86 vaccine against other Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) and Hyalomma tick species suggests that the efficacy of a Bm86-based vaccine may be enhanced when based on the orthologous recombinant Bm86 antigen. We therefore identified and analysed the Bm86 homologues from species representing the main argasid and ixodid tick genera, including two from the prostriate Ixodes ricinus tick species. A novel protein from metastriate ticks with multiple epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains which is structurally related to Bm86 was identified by using a 3′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (3′-RACE) method with a degenerate primer based on a highly conserved region of Bm86 and its orthologues. This second protein was named ATAQ after a part of its signature peptide. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR showed that ATAQ proteins are expressed in both midguts and Malpighian tubules, in contrast to Bm86 orthologues which are expressed exclusively in tick midguts. Furthermore, expression of this protein over the life stages of R. microplus and Rhipicephalus appendiculatus was more continuous compared with Bm86. Although a highly effective vaccine antigen, gene silencing of Bm86 by RNA interference (RNAi) produced only a weak phenotype. Similarly the RNAi phenotype of Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi females in which the expression of Ree86, ReeATAQ or a combination of both genes was silenced by RNAi did not differ from a mock-injected control group. The vaccine potential of ATAQ proteins against tick infestations is yet to be evaluated.
Bm86; Homologues; ATAQ; Tick; Vaccine; RNA interference; Expression profile
Tick parasitism is a major impediment for cattle production in many parts of the world. The southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, is an obligate hematophagous parasite of domestic and wild animals that serves as vector of infectious agents lethal to cattle. Tick saliva contains molecules evolved to modulate host innate and adaptive immune responses which facilitates blood feeding and pathogen transmission. Tick feeding promotes CD4 T cell polarization to a Th2 profile usually accompanied by down-regulation of Th1 cytokines through as yet undefined mechanisms. Co-stimulatory molecules on antigen presenting cells are central to development of T cell responses including Th1 and Th2 responses. Tick induced changes to antigen presenting cell signal transduction pathways are largely unknown. Here we document the ability of R. microplus salivary gland extracts (SGE) to effect differential CD86 expression.
We examined changes in co-stimulatory molecule expression in murine RAW 264.7 cells in response to R. microplus SGE exposure in the presence of the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) ligand, LPS. After 24 hrs, CD86, but not CD80, was preferentially up-regulated on mouse macrophage RAW 264.7 cells when treated with SGE and then LPS, but not SGE alone. CD80 and CD40 expression was increased with LPS, but the addition of SGE did not alter expression. Higher concentrations of SGE were less effective at increasing CD86 RNA expression. The addition of mitogen or extracellular kinase (MEK) inhibitor, PD98059, significantly reduced the ability for SGE to induce CD86 expression, indicating activation of MEK is necessary for SGE induced up-regulation.
Molecules in SGE of R. microplus have a concentration-dependent effect on differential up-regulation of CD86 in a macrophage cell line activated by the TLR4 ligand, LPS. This CD86 up-regulation is at least partially dependent on the ERK1/2 pathway and may serve to promote Th2 polarization of the immune response.
Bovines present contrasting, heritable phenotypes of infestations with the cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. Tick salivary glands produce IgG-binding proteins (IGBPs) as a mechanism for escaping from host antibodies that these ectoparasites ingest during blood meals. Allotypes that occur in the constant region of IgG may differ in their capacity to bind with tick IGBPs; this may be reflected by the distribution of distinct allotypes according to phenotypes of tick infestations. In order to test this hypothesis, we investigated the frequency of haplotypes of bovine IgG2 among tick-resistant and tick-susceptible breeds of bovines. Sequencing of the gene coding for the heavy chain of IgG2 from 114 tick-resistant (Bos taurus indicus, Nelore breed) and tick-susceptible (B. t. taurus, Holstein breed) bovines revealed SNPs that generated 13 different haplotypes, of which 11 were novel and 5 were exclusive of Holstein and 3 of Nelore breeds. Alignment and modeling of coded haplotypes for hinge regions of the bovine IgG2 showed that they differ in the distribution of polar and hydrophobic amino acids and in shape according to the distribution of these amino acids. We also found that there was an association between genotypes of the constant region of the IgG2 heavy chain with phenotypes of tick infestations. These findings open the possibility of investigating if certain IgG allotypes hinder the function of tick IGBPs. If so, they may be markers for breeding for resistance against tick infestations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00251-011-0515-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Bovine IgG2; Allotypes; Haplotypes; Hinge region; Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus
Hard ticks subvert the immune responses of their vertebrate hosts in order to feed for much longer periods than other blood-feeding ectoparasites; this may be one reason why they transmit perhaps the greatest diversity of pathogens of any arthropod vector. Tick-induced immunomodulation is mediated by salivary components, some of which neutralise elements of innate immunity or inhibit the development of adaptive immunity. As dendritic cells (DC) trigger and help to regulate adaptive immunity, they are an ideal target for immunomodulation. However, previously described immunoactive components of tick saliva are either highly promiscuous in their cellular and molecular targets or have limited effects on DC. Here we address the question of whether the largest and globally most important group of ticks (the ixodid metastriates) produce salivary molecules that specifically modulate DC activity. We used chromatography to isolate a salivary gland protein (Japanin) from Rhipicephalus appendiculatus ticks. Japanin was cloned, and recombinant protein was produced in a baculoviral expression system. We found that Japanin specifically reprogrammes DC responses to a wide variety of stimuli in vitro, radically altering their expression of co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory transmembrane molecules (measured by flow cytometry) and their secretion of pro-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory and T cell polarising cytokines (assessed by Luminex multiplex assays); it also inhibits the differentiation of DC from monocytes. Sequence alignments and enzymatic deglycosylation revealed Japanin to be a 17.7 kDa, N-glycosylated lipocalin. Using molecular cloning and database searches, we have identified a group of homologous proteins in R. appendiculatus and related species, three of which we have expressed and shown to possess DC-modulatory activity. All data were obtained using DC generated from at least four human blood donors, with rigorous statistical analysis. Our results suggest a previously unknown mechanism for parasite-induced subversion of adaptive immunity, one which may also facilitate pathogen transmission.
Dendritic cells (DC) are specialised cells of the vertebrate immune system. DC can sense different types of infectious agents and parasites, and both trigger and help regulate the specific types of immunity needed to eliminate them. We have discovered that the largest and globally most important group of hard ticks produce a unique family of proteins in their saliva that selectively targets DC, radically altering functions that would otherwise induce robust immune responses; these proteins also prevent DC developing from precursor cells. The production of these salivary molecules may help to explain two highly unusual features of these hard ticks compared with other blood-feeding parasites: their ability to feed continuously on their vertebrate hosts for considerable lengths of time (7 days or more) without eliciting potentially damaging immune responses, and their capacity to transmit possibly the greatest variety of pathogens of any type of invertebrate.
Ticks--vectors of medical and veterinary importance--are themselves also significant pests. Tick salivary proteins are the result of adaptation to blood feeding and contain inhibitors of blood clotting, platelet aggregation, and angiogenesis, as well as vasodilators and immunomodulators. A previous analysis of the sialotranscriptome (from the Greek sialo, saliva) of Amblyomma variegatum is revisited in light of recent advances in tick sialomes and provides a database to perform a proteomic study.
The clusterized data set has been expertly curated in light of recent reviews on tick salivary proteins, identifying many new families of tick-exclusive proteins. A proteome study using salivary gland homogenates identified 19 putative secreted proteins within a total of 211 matches.
The annotated sialome of A. variegatum allows its comparison to other tick sialomes, helping to consolidate an emerging pattern in the salivary composition of metastriate ticks; novel protein families were also identified. Because most of these proteins have no known function, the task of functional analysis of these proteins and the discovery of novel pharmacologically active compounds becomes possible.
Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus is an obligate blood feeder which is host specific to cattle. Existing knowledge pertaining to the host or host breed effects on tick transcript expression profiles during the tick - host interaction is poor.
Global analysis of gene expression changes in whole R. microplus ticks during larval, pre-attachment and early adult stages feeding on Bos indicus and Bos taurus cattle were compared using gene expression microarray analysis. Among the 13,601 R. microplus transcripts from BmiGI Version 2 we identified 297 high and 17 low expressed transcripts that were significantly differentially expressed between R. microplus feeding on tick resistant cattle [Bos indicus (Brahman)] compared to R. microplus feeding on tick susceptible cattle [Bos taurus (Holstein-Friesian)] (p ≤ 0.001). These include genes encoding enzymes involved in primary metabolism, and genes related to stress, defence, cell wall modification, cellular signaling, receptor, and cuticle formation. Microarrays were validated by qRT-PCR analysis of selected transcripts using three housekeeping genes as normalization controls.
The analysis of all tick stages under survey suggested a coordinated regulation of defence proteins, proteases and protease inhibitors to achieve successful attachment and survival of R. microplus on different host breeds, particularly Bos indicus cattle. R. microplus ticks demonstrate different transcript expression patterns when they encounter tick resistant and susceptible breeds of cattle. In this study we provide the first transcriptome evidence demonstrating the influence of tick resistant and susceptible cattle breeds on transcript expression patterns and the molecular physiology of ticks during host attachment and feeding.
The microarray data used in this analysis have been submitted to NCBI GEO database under accession number GSE20605 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/query/acc.cgi?acc=GSE20605.
The southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, is an economically important parasite of cattle and can transmit several pathogenic microorganisms to its cattle host during the feeding process. Understanding the biology and genomics of R. microplus is critical to developing novel methods for controlling these ticks.
We present a global comparative genomic analysis of a gene index of R. microplus comprised of 13,643 unique transcripts assembled from 42,512 expressed sequence tags (ESTs), a significant fraction of the complement of R. microplus genes. The source material for these ESTs consisted of polyA RNA from various tissues, lifestages, and strains of R. microplus, including larvae exposed to heat, cold, host odor, and acaricide. Functional annotation using RPS-Blast analysis identified conserved protein domains in the conceptually translated gene index and assigned GO terms to those database transcripts which had informative BlastX hits. Blast Score Ratio and SimiTri analysis compared the conceptual transcriptome of the R. microplus database to other eukaryotic proteomes and EST databases, including those from 3 ticks. The most abundant protein domains in BmiGI were also analyzed by SimiTri methodology.
These results indicate that a large fraction of BmiGI entries have no homologs in other sequenced genomes. Analysis with the PartiGene annotation pipeline showed 64% of the members of BmiGI could not be assigned GO annotation, thus minimal information is available about a significant fraction of the tick genome. This highlights the important insights in tick biology which are likely to result from a tick genome sequencing project. Global comparative analysis identified some tick genes with unexpected phylogenetic relationships which detailed analysis attributed to gene losses in some members of the animal kingdom. Some tick genes were identified which had close orthologues to mammalian genes. Members of this group would likely be poor choices as targets for development of novel tick control technology.
The protozoan parasite Babesia bovis, a reemerging threat to U.S. cattle, is acquired by adult female ticks of the subgenus Boophilus and is transovarially transmitted as the kinete stage to developing larval offspring. Sporozoites develop within larvae and are transmitted during larval feeding on a bovine host. This study evaluated the efficiency of B. bovis infection within Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus following acquisition feeding on acutely parasitemic cattle. Parasite levels were quantified in blood from experimentally infected cattle and within hemolymph and larvae derived from acquisition-fed female B. microplus. There was a positive correlation between blood parasite levels in acutely parasitemic cattle and kinete levels in the hemolymph of adult female Boophilus ticks following acquisition feeding; however, there was no relationship between kinete levels in females and infection rates of larval progeny. Boophilus microplus females that acquisition fed produced larval progeny with infection rates of 12% to 48%. Importantly, larvae derived from replete females with very low levels of kinete infection, as demonstrated by microscopy and PCR, had infection rates of 22% to 30% and transmitted B. bovis during transmission feeding. These data demonstrate that although hemolymph infection may be undetectable, transmission to larval progeny occurs at a level which ensures transmission to the bovine host.
The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) is the most widespread tick in the world and a well-recognized vector of many pathogens affecting dogs and occasionally humans. This tick can be found on dogs living in both urban and rural areas, being highly adapted to live within human dwellings and being active throughout the year not only in tropical and subtropical regions, but also in some temperate areas. Depending on factors such as climate and host availability, Rh. sanguineus can complete up to four generations per year. Recent studies have demonstrated that ticks exposed to high temperatures attach and feed on humans and rabbits more rapidly. This observation suggests that the risk of human parasitism by Rh. sanguineus could increase in areas experiencing warmer and/or longer summers, consequently increasing the risk of transmission of zoonotic agents (e.g., Rickettsia conorii and Rickettsia rickettsii). In the present article, some aspects of the biology and ecology of Rh. sanguineus ticks are discussed including the possible impact of current climate changes on populations of this tick around the world.
Tick modulation of host defenses facilitates both blood feeding and pathogen transmission. Several tick species deviate host T cell responses toward a Th2 cytokine profile. The majority of studies of modulation of T cell cytokine expression by ticks were performed with lymphocytes from infested mice stimulated in vitro with polyclonal T cell activators. Those reports did not examine tick modulation of antigen specific responses. We report use of a transgenic T cell receptor (TCR) adoptive transfer model reactive with influenza hemagglutinin peptide (110-120) to examine CD4+ T cell intracellular cytokine responses during infestation with the metastriate tick, Dermacentor andersoni, or exposure to salivary gland extracts.
Infestation with pathogen-free D. andersoni nymphs or administration of an intradermal injection of female or male tick salivary gland extract induced significant increases of IL-4 transcripts in skin and draining lymph nodes of BALB/c mice as measured by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Furthermore, IL-10 transcripts were significantly increased in skin while IL-2 and IFN-γ transcripts were not significantly changed by tick feeding or intradermal injection of salivary gland proteins, suggesting a superimposed Th2 response. Infestation induced TCR transgenic CD4+ T cells to divide more frequently as measured by CFSE dilution, but more notably these CD4+ T cells also gained the capacity to express IL-4. Intracellular levels of IL-4 were significantly increased. A second infestation administered 14 days after a primary exposure to ticks resulted in partially reduced CFSE dilution with no change in IL-4 expression when compared to one exposure to ticks. Intradermal inoculation of salivary gland extracts from both male and female ticks also induced IL-4 expression.
This is the first report of the influence of a metastriate tick on the cytokine profile of antigen specific CD4+ T cells. Blood feeding by D. andersoni pathogen-free nymphs or intradermal injection of salivary gland extracts programs influenza hemagglutinin influenza peptide specific TCR transgenic CD4+ T cells to express IL-4.
Bhanja virus (BHAV) is pathogenic for young domestic ruminants and also for humans, causing fever and affections of the central nervous system. This generally neglected arbovirus of the family Bunyaviridae is transmitted by metastriate ticks of the genera Haemaphysalis, Dermacentor, Hyalomma, Rhipicephalus, Boophilus, and Amblyomma. Geographic distribution of BHAV covers southern and Central Asia, Africa, and southern (partially also central) Europe. Comparative biogeographic study of eight known natural foci of BHAV infections in Europe (in Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia) has revealed their common features. (1) submediterranean climatic pattern with dry growing season and wet mild winter (or microlimatically similar conditions, e.g., limestone karst areas in central Europe), (2) xerothermic woodland-grassland ecosystem, with plant alliances Quercetalia pubescentis, Festucetalia valesiacae, and Brometalia erecti, involving pastoral areas, (3) presence of at least one of the tick species Haemaphysalis punctata, Dermacentor marginatus, Rhipicephalus bursa, and/or Hyalomma marginatum, and (4) presence of ≥60% of the 180 BHAV bioindicator (157 plant, 4 ixodid tick, and 19 vertebrate spp.). On that basis, Greece, France (southern, including Corsica), Albania, Spain, Hungary, European Turkey, Ukraine (southern), Switzerland (southern), Austria (southeastern), Germany (southern), Moldova, and European Russia (southern) have been predicted as additional European regions where BHAV might occur.
Antigenic polymorphism is a defining characteristic of the Babesia bovis variable merozoite surface antigen (VMSA) family. Sequence analysis strongly suggests that recombination between virulent strains contributes to VMSA diversity. While meiosis during the aneuploid stage of the parasite's life cycle in the tick vector Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus is the most probable source of interstrain recombination, there is no definitive evidence that coinfection of the mammalian host or R. microplus ticks with more than one virulent strain occurs. Using allele-specific real-time quantitative PCR, we tested the hypotheses that cattle could support coinfection of two antigenically variant virulent tick-transmissible strains of B. bovis and that R. microplus ticks could acquire and transmit these two divergent strains. The results indicate that both calves and ticks can support virulent B. bovis coinfection through all phases of the hemoparasite's life cycle. Neither strain dominated in either the mammalian or invertebrate host, and larval tick progeny, which could be coinfected individually, were also able to transmit both strains, resulting in virulent babesiosis in recipients. While coinfection of the tick vector provides the context in which allelic antigenic diversity can be generated, recombination of VMSA genes could not be confirmed, suggesting that VMSA allelic changes are slow to accumulate.
The cattle ticks, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) spp., affect cattle production in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Tick vaccines constitute a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to tick control. The recombinant Rhipicephalus microplus Bm86 antigen has been shown to protect cattle against tick infestations. However, variable efficacy of Bm86-based vaccines against geographic tick strains has encouraged the research for additional tick-protective antigens. Herein, we describe the analysis of R. microplus glutathione-S transferase, ubiquitin (UBQ), selenoprotein W, elongation factor-1 alpha, and subolesin (SUB) complementary DNAs (cDNAs) by RNA interference (RNAi) in R. microplus and Rhipicephalus annulatus. Candidate protective antigens were selected for vaccination experiments based on the effect of gene knockdown on tick mortality, feeding, and fertility. Two cDNA clones encoding for UBQ and SUB were used for cattle vaccination and infestation with R. microplus and R. annulatus. Control groups were immunized with recombinant Bm86 or adjuvant/saline. The highest vaccine efficacy for the control of tick infestations was obtained for Bm86. Although with low immunogenic response, the results with the SUB vaccine encourage further investigations on the use of recombinant subolesin alone or in combination with other antigens for the control of cattle tick infestations. The UBQ peptide showed low immunogenicity, and the results of the vaccination trial were inconclusive to assess the protective efficacy of this antigen. These experiments showed that RNAi could be used for the selection of candidate tick-protective antigens. However, vaccination trials are necessary to evaluate the effect of recombinant antigens in the control of tick infestations, a process that requires efficient recombinant protein production and formulation systems.
► Analysis of Rhipicephalus microplus tick gene expression during feeding. ► A massive organ-specific transcriptional response to tick feeding is confirmed. ► Analysis of tick response to infection with the cattle pathogen Anaplasma marginale. ► Anaplasma marginale exerts a minimal effect on the tick transcriptome.
Arthropods transmit important infectious diseases of humans and animals. Importantly, replication and the development of pathogen infectivity are tightly linked to vector feeding on the mammalian host; thus analysis of the transcriptomes of both vector and pathogen during feeding is fundamental to understanding transmission. Using Anaplasma marginale infection of Rhipicephalusmicroplus as the experimental model, we tested three hypotheses exploring the temporal and organ-specific nature of the tick midgut and salivary gland transcriptomes during feeding and in response to infection. Numerous R. microplus genes were regulated in response to feeding and were differentially regulated between the midgut and salivary gland; additionally, there was a progression in regulated gene expression in the salivary gland over time. In contrast, relatively few tick genes were specifically regulated in response to A. marginale infection and these genes were predominantly annotated as hypothetical or were of unknown function. Notable among the genes with informative annotation was that several ribosomal proteins were down-regulated, suggesting that there may be a corresponding decrease in translation. The hypotheses that R. microplus midgut and salivary gland genes are differentially regulated and that the salivary gland transcriptome is dynamic over time were accepted. This is consistent with, and important for understanding the roles of, the two organs, the midgut serving as an initial site of uptake and replication while the salivary gland serves as the final site of replication and secretion. The nominal effect of A. marginale on the tick transcriptome in terms of numbers of regulated genes and fold of regulation supports the view that the vector–pathogen relationship is well established with minimal deleterious effect on the tick. The small set of predominantly hypothetical genes regulated by infection suggests that A. marginale is affecting a novel set of tick genes and may provide new opportunities for blocking transmission from the tick.
Tick-borne disease; Ixodid; Rickettsial; Gene expression; Microarray
Continuous cell lines derived from many of the vectors of tick-borne arboviruses of medical and veterinary importance are now available. Their role as tools in arbovirus research to date is reviewed and their potential application in studies of tick cell responses to virus infection is explored, by comparison with recent progress in understanding mosquito immunity to arbovirus infection. A preliminary study of propagation of the human pathogen Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) in tick cell lines is reported; CCHFV replicated in seven cell lines derived from the ticks Hyalomma anatolicum (a known vector), Amblyomma variegatum, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, and Ixodes ricinus, but not in three cell lines derived from Rhipicephalus appendiculatus and Ornithodoros moubata. This indicates that tick cell lines can be used to study growth of CCHFV in arthropod cells and that there may be species-specific restriction in permissive CCHFV infection at the cellular level.
Arbovirus; Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus; innate immunity; tick cell line
Tick-borne pathogens may be transmitted intrastadially and transstadially within a single vector generation as well as vertically between generations. Understanding the mode and relative efficiency of this transmission is required for infection control. In this study, we established that adult male Rhipicephalus microplus ticks efficiently acquire the protozoal pathogen Babesia equi during acute and persistent infections and transmit it intrastadially to naïve horses. Although the level of parasitemia during acquisition feeding affected the efficiency of the initial tick infection, infected ticks developed levels of ≥104 organisms/pair of salivary glands independent of the level of parasitemia during acquisition feeding and successfully transmitted them, indicating that replication within the tick compensated for any initial differences in infectious dose and exceeded the threshold for transmission. During the development of B. equi parasites in the salivary gland granular acini, the parasites expressed levels of paralogous surface proteins significantly different from those expressed by intraerythrocytic parasites from the mammalian host. In contrast to the successful intrastadial transmission, adult female R. microplus ticks that fed on horses with high parasitemia passed the parasite vertically into the eggs with low efficiency, and the subsequent generation (larvae, nymphs, and adults) failed to transmit B. equi parasites to naïve horses. The data demonstrated that intrastadial but not transovarial transmission is an efficient mode for B. equi transmission and that persistently infected horses are an important reservoir for transmission. Consequently, R. microplus male ticks and persistently infected horses should be targeted for disease control.
American canine hepatozoonosis (ACH) is a tick-borne disease that is spreading in the southeastern and south-central United States. Characterized by marked leukocytosis and periosteal bone proliferation, ACH is very debilitating and often fatal. Dogs acquire infection by ingesting nymphal or adult Gulf Coast ticks (Amblyomma maculatum) that, in a previous life stage, ingested the parasite in a blood meal taken from some vertebrate intermediate host. ACH is caused by the apicomplexan Hepatozoon americanum and has been differentiated from Old World canine hepatozoonosis caused by H. canis. Unlike H. canis, which is transmitted by the ubiquitous brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), H. americanum is essentially an accidental parasite of dogs, for which Gulf Coast ticks are not favored hosts. The geographic portrait of the disease parallels the known distribution of the Gulf Coast tick, which has expanded in recent years. Thus, the endemic cycle of H. americanum involves A. maculatum as definitive host and some vertebrate intermediate host(s) yet to be identified. Although coyotes (Canis latrans) are known to be infected, it is not known how important this host is in maintaining the endemic cycle. This review covers the biology of the parasite and of the tick that transmits it and contrasts ACH with classical canine hepatozoonosis. Clinical aspects of the disease are discussed, including diagnosis and treatment, and puzzling epidemiologic issues are examined. Brief consideration is given to the potential for ACH to be used as a model for study of angiogenesis and of hypertrophic osteoarthropathy.
The Ixodes holocyclus tick causes paralysis in up to 10,000 companion and domestic animals each year in Australia. Treatment requires the removal of the parasite and the administration of a commercial tick antiserum that is prepared from hyperimmune dogs. Each batch of this serum is initially tested for toxin-neutralising potency in a mouse bioassay that is expensive, time consuming, and subjective. With the aim of developing a rapid in vitro assay to replace the bioassay, we used a partially purified antigen prepared from I. holocyclus salivary glands to develop an ELISA to detect toxin-reactive antibodies in hyperimmune dog sera. The optimised ELISA reliably detected antibodies reactive to I. holocyclus salivary gland antigens. Parallel testing of sera with a negative control antigen prepared from the salivary glands of the nontoxic tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus provided further evidence that we were detecting toxin-specific antibodies in the assay. Using the ELISA, we could also detect antibodies induced in rats after experimental infestation with I. holocyclus. This assay shows promise as an alternative means of assessing the potency of batches of hyperimmune dog serum and to screen for toxin-reactive monoclonal antibodies produced from immunised rodents.
Attractant sex pheromone (ASP) 2,6-dichloro phenol was used in the current study to evaluate the percentage attraction and the behavioural responses of the five ixodid tick species namely Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Rhipicephalus microplus (Boophilus microplus), Haemaphysalis bispinosa, Rhipicephalus haemaphysaloides and Hyalomma marginatum using petridish bioassay. Two concentrations of 2,6-DCP (0.1 M and 0.05 M) was used for the larval stages of all five ixodid tick species of which 0.1 M concentration was found to have maximum attraction. Trials with 0.1 M ASP revealed highest per cent of attraction in R. sanguineus larvae (71 %) followed by H. bispinosa (55 %) and R. microplus (55 %). With 0.1 M ASP R. haemaphysaloides and H. marginatum showed least attraction (39 % each). However the per cent of attraction of R. haemaphysaloides was higher (46 %) with 0.05 M ASP. Statistical analysis revealed a highly significant difference in per cent of attraction between the different tick larvae using 0.05 and 0.1 M ASP. The larvae also exhibited behavioural responses such as feeding, probing, resting and questing posture.
2,6-DCP; Ixodid tick larvae; Behavioural response; Attractant sex pheromone
Ticks introduce a variety of pharmacologically active molecules into their host during attachment and feeding in order to obtain a blood meal. People who are repeatedly exposed to ticks may develop an immune response to tick salivary proteins. Despite this response, people usually are unaware of having been bitten, especially if they are not repeatedly exposed to ticks. In order to develop a laboratory marker of tick exposure that would be useful in understanding the epidemiology of tick-borne infection and the immune response to tick bite, we developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect antibody to a recombinant form of calreticulin protein found in the salivary glands of Ixodes scapularis, a member of a complex of Ixodes ticks that serve as the vectors for Lyme disease, human babesiosis, and human granulocytic anaplasmosis. Using this assay, we tested sera obtained from C3H/HeN and BALB/c mice before and after experimental deer tick infestation. These mice developed antibody to Ixodes calreticulin antigen after infestation. We then used the same assay to test sera obtained from people before and after they experienced deer tick bite(s). People experiencing deer tick bite(s) developed Ixodes calreticulin-specific antibody responses that persisted for up to 17 months. This Ixodes recombinant calreticulin ELISA provides objective evidence of deer tick exposure in people.
Equi merozoite antigens 1 and 2 (EMA-1 and EMA-2) are Babesia equi proteins expressed on the parasite surface during infection in horses and are orthologues of proteins in Theileria spp., which are also tick-transmitted protozoal pathogens. We determined in this study whether EMA-1 and EMA-2 were expressed within the vector tick Boophilus microplus. B. equi transitions through multiple, morphologically distinct stages, including sexual stages, and these transitions culminate in the formation of infectious sporozoites in the tick salivary gland. EMA-2-positive B. equi stages in the midgut lumen and midgut epithelial cells of Boophilus microplus nymphs were identified by reactivity with monoclonal antibody 36/253.21. This monoclonal antibody also recognized B. equi in salivary glands of adult Boophilus microplus. In addition, quantification of B. equi in the mammalian host and vector tick indicated that the duration of tick feeding and parasitemia levels affected the percentage of nymphs that contained morphologically distinct B. equi organisms in the midgut. In contrast, there was no conclusive evidence that B. equi EMA-1 was expressed in either the Boophilus microplus midgut or salivary gland when monoclonal antibody 36/18.57 was used. The expression of B. equi EMA-2 in Boophilus microplus provides a marker for detecting the various development stages and facilitates the identification of novel stage-specific Babesia proteins for testing transmission-blocking immunity.
The use of RNA interference (RNAi) to assess gene function has been demonstrated in several three-host tick species but adaptation of RNAi to the one-host tick, Boophilus microplus, has not been reported. We evaluated the application of RNAi in B. microplus and the effect of gene silencing on three tick-protective antigens: Bm86, Bm91 and subolesin. Gene-specific double-stranded (dsRNA) was injected into two tick stages, freshly molted unfed and engorged females, and specific gene silencing was confirmed by real time PCR. Gene silencing occurred in injected unfed females after they were allowed to feed. Injection of dsRNA into engorged females caused gene silencing in the subsequently oviposited eggs and larvae that hatched from these eggs, but not in adults that developed from these larvae. dsRNA injected into engorged females could be detected by quantitative real-time RT-PCR in eggs 14 days from the beginning of oviposition, demonstrating that unprocessed dsRNA was incorporated in the eggs. Eggs produced by engorged females injected with subolesin dsRNA were abnormal, suggesting that subolesin may play a role in embryonic development. The injection of dsRNA into engorged females to obtain gene-specific silencing in eggs and larvae is a novel method which can be used to study gene function in tick embryogenesis.
Bm86; Bm91; Subolesin; RNAi; Boophilus microplus; One-host tick
The Arthropods are a diverse group of organisms including Chelicerata (ticks, mites, spiders), Crustacea (crabs, shrimps), and Insecta (flies, mosquitoes, beetles, silkworm). The cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, is an economically significant ectoparasite of cattle affecting cattle industries world wide. With the availability of sequence reads from the first Chelicerate genome project (the Ixodes scapularis tick) and extensive R. microplus ESTs, we investigated evidence for putative RNAi proteins and studied RNA interference in tick cell cultures and adult female ticks targeting Drosophila homologues with known cell viability phenotype.
We screened 13,643 R. microplus ESTs and I. scapularis genome reads to identify RNAi related proteins in ticks. Our analysis identified 31 RNAi proteins including a putative tick Dicer, RISC associated (Ago-2 and FMRp), RNA dependent RNA polymerase (EGO-1) and 23 homologues implicated in dsRNA uptake and processing. We selected 10 R. microplus ESTs with >80% similarity to D. melanogaster proteins associated with cell viability for RNAi functional screens in both BME26 R. microplus embryonic cells and female ticks in vivo. Only genes associated with proteasomes had an effect on cell viability in vitro. In vivo RNAi showed that 9 genes had significant effects either causing lethality or impairing egg laying.
We have identified key RNAi-related proteins in ticks and along with our loss-of-function studies support a functional RNAi pathway in R. microplus. Our preliminary studies indicate that tick RNAi pathways may differ from that of other Arthropods such as insects.
Ticks require blood meal to complete development and reproduction. Multifunctional tick salivary glands play a pivotal role in tick feeding and transmission of pathogens. Tick salivary molecules injected into the host modulate host defence responses to the benefit of the feeding ticks. To colonize tick organs, tick-borne microorganisms must overcome several barriers, i.e., tick gut membrane, tick immunity, and moulting. Tick-borne pathogens co-evolved with their vectors and hosts and developed molecular adaptations to avoid adverse effects of tick and host defences. Large gaps exist in the knowledge of survival strategies of tick-borne microorganisms and on the molecular mechanisms of tick-host-pathogen interactions. Prior to transmission to a host, the microorganisms penetrate and multiply in tick salivary glands. As soon as the tick is attached to a host, gene expression and production of salivary molecules is upregulated, primarily to facilitate feeding and avoid tick rejection by the host. Pathogens exploit tick salivary molecules for their survival and multiplication in the vector and transmission to and establishment in the hosts. Promotion of pathogen transmission by bioactive molecules in tick saliva was described as saliva-assisted transmission (SAT). SAT candidates comprise compounds with anti-haemostatic, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory functions, but the molecular mechanisms by which they mediate pathogen transmission are largely unknown. To date only a few tick salivary molecules associated with specific pathogen transmission have been identified and their functions partially elucidated. Advanced molecular techniques are applied in studying tick-host-pathogen interactions and provide information on expression of vector and pathogen genes during pathogen acquisition, establishment and transmission. Understanding the molecular events on the tick-host-pathogen interface may lead to development of new strategies to control tick-borne diseases.
ticks; saliva; immunomodulation; pathogen; transmission
Alternative strategies are required to control the southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus, due to evolving resistance to commercially available acaricides. This invasive ectoparasite is a vector of economically important diseases of cattle such as bovine babesiosis and anaplasmosis. An understanding of the biological intricacies underlying vector-host-pathogen interactions is required to innovate sustainable tick management strategies that can ultimately mitigate the impact of animal and zoonotic tick-borne diseases. Tick saliva contains molecules evolved to impair host innate and adaptive immune responses, which facilitates blood feeding and pathogen transmission. Antigen presenting cells are central to the development of robust T cell responses including Th1 and Th2 determination. In this study we examined changes in co-stimulatory molecule expression and cytokine response of bovine macrophages exposed to salivary gland extracts (SGE) obtained from 2-3 day fed, pathogen-free adult R. microplus.
Peripheral blood-derived macrophages were treated for 1 hr with 1, 5, or 10 μg/mL of SGE followed by 1, 6, 24 hr of 1 μg/mL of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Real-time PCR and cytokine ELISA were used to measure changes in co-stimulatory molecule expression and cytokine response.
Changes were observed in co-stimulatory molecule expression of bovine macrophages in response to R. microplus SGE exposure. After 6 hrs, CD86, but not CD80, was preferentially up-regulated on bovine macrophages when treated with 1 μg/ml SGE and then LPS, but not SGE alone. At 24 hrs CD80, CD86, and CD69 expression was increased with LPS, but was inhibited by the addition of SGE. SGE also inhibited LPS induced upregulation of TNFα, IFNγ and IL-12 cytokines, but did not alter IL-4 or CD40 mRNA expression.
Molecules from the salivary glands of adult R. microplus showed bimodal concentration-, and time-dependent effects on differential up-regulation of CD86 in bovine macrophages activated by the TLR4-ligand, LPS. Up regulation of proinflammatory cytokines and IL-12, a Th1 promoting cytokine, were inhibited in a dose-dependent manner. The co-stimulatory molecules CD80, as well as the cell activation marker, CD69, were also suppressed in macrophages exposed to SGE. Continued investigation of the immunomodulatory factors will provide the knowledge base to research and develop therapeutic or prophylactic interventions targeting R. microplus-cattle interactions at the blood-feeding interface.