Deorphanization and target validation of cross-tick species conserved novel Amblyomma americanum tick saliva protein.
ABSTRACT: We previously identified a cross-tick species conserved tick feeding stimuli responsive Amblyomma americanum (Aam) AV422 gene. This study demonstrates that AamAV422 belongs to a novel group of arthropod proteins that is characterized by 14 cysteine amino acid residues: C(23)-X7/9-C(33)-X23/24-C(58)-X8-C(67)-X7-C(75)-X23-C(99)-X15-C(115)-X10-C(126)-X24/25/33-C(150)C(151)-X7-C(159)-X8-C(168)-X23/24-C(192)-X9/10-C(202) predicted to form seven disulfide bonds. We show that AamAV422 protein is a ubiquitously expressed protein that is injected into the host within the first 24h of the tick attaching onto the host as revealed by Western blotting analyses of recombinant (r)AamAV422, tick saliva and dissected tick organ protein extracts using antibodies to 24 and 48 h tick saliva proteins. Native AamAV422 is apparently involved with mediating tick anti-hemostasis and anti-complement functions in that rAamAV422 delayed plasma clotting time in a dose responsive manner by up to ? 160 s, prevented platelet aggregation by up to ? 16% and caused ? 24% reduction in production of terminal complement complexes. Target validation analysis revealed that rAamAV422 is a potential candidate for a cocktail or multivalent tick vaccine preparation in that RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated silencing of AamAV422 mRNA caused a statistically significant (? 44%) reduction in tick engorgement weights, which is proxy for amounts of ingested blood. We speculate that AamAV422 is a potential target antigen for development of the highly desired universal tick vaccine in that consistent with high conservation among ticks, antibodies to 24h Ixodes scapularis tick saliva proteins specifically bound rAamAV422. We discuss data in this study in the context of advancing the biology of tick feeding physiology and discovery of potential target antigens for tick vaccine development.
Project description:Ixodes scapularis is arguably the most medically important tick species in the United States. This tick transmits 5 of the 14 human tick-borne disease (TBD) agents in the USA: Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, B. miyamotoi, Babesia microti, and Powassan virus disease. Except for the Powassan virus disease, I. scapularis-vectored TBD agents require more than 24h post attachment to be transmitted. This study describes identification of 24h immunogenic I. scapularis tick saliva proteins, which could provide opportunities to develop strategies to stop tick feeding before transmission of the majority of pathogens. A 24h fed female I. scapularis phage display cDNA expression library was biopanned using rabbit antibodies to 24h fed I. scapularis female tick saliva proteins, subjected to next generation sequencing, de novo assembly, and bioinformatic analyses. A total of 182 contigs were assembled, of which ∼19% (35/182) are novel and did not show identity to any known proteins in GenBank. The remaining ∼81% (147/182) of contigs were provisionally identified based on matches in GenBank including ∼18% (27/147) that matched protein sequences previously annotated as hypothetical and putative tick saliva proteins. Others include proteases and protease inhibitors (∼3%, 5/147), transporters and/or ligand binding proteins (∼6%, 9/147), immunogenic tick saliva housekeeping enzyme-like (17%, 25/147), ribosomal protein-like (∼31%, 46/147), and those classified as miscellaneous (∼24%, 35/147). Notable among the miscellaneous class include antimicrobial peptides (microplusin and ricinusin), myosin-like proteins that have been previously found in tick saliva, and heat shock tick saliva protein. Data in this study provides the foundation for in-depth analysis of I. scapularis feeding during the first 24h, before the majority of TBD agents can be transmitted.
Project description:Multiple tick saliva proteins, the majority of which are unknown, confer tick resistance in repeatedly infested animals. The objective of this study was to identify the 24-48 h fed Amblyomma americanum tick saliva immuno-proteome. The 24-48 h tick-feeding phase is critical to tick parasitism as it precedes important events in tick biology, blood meal feeding and disease agent transmission. Fed male, 24 and 96 h fed female phage display cDNA expression libraries were biopanned using rabbit antibodies to 24 and 48 h fed A. americanum female tick saliva proteins. Biopanned immuno-cDNA libraries were subjected to next generation sequencing, de novo assembly, and bioinformatic analysis.More than 800 transcripts that code for 24-48 h fed A. americanum immuno-proteins are described. Of the 895 immuno-proteins, 52% (464/895) were provisionally identified based on matches in GenBank. Of these, ~19% (86/464) show high level of identity to other tick hypothetical proteins, and the rest include putative proteases (serine, cysteine, leukotriene A-4 hydrolase, carboxypeptidases, and metalloproteases), protease inhibitors (serine and cysteine protease inhibitors, tick carboxypeptidase inhibitor), and transporters and/or ligand binding proteins (histamine binding/lipocalin, fatty acid binding, calreticulin, hemelipoprotein, IgG binding protein, ferritin, insulin-like growth factor binding proteins, and evasin). Others include enzymes (glutathione transferase, cytochrome oxidase, protein disulfide isomerase), ribosomal proteins, and those of miscellaneous functions (histamine release factor, selenoproteins, tetraspanin, defensin, heat shock proteins).Data here demonstrate that A. americanum secretes a complex cocktail of immunogenic tick saliva proteins during the first 24-48 h of feeding. Of significance, previously validated immunogenic tick saliva proteins including AV422 protein, calreticulin, histamine release factor, histamine binding/lipocalins, selenoproteins, and paramyosin were identified in this screen, supporting the specificity of the approach in this study. While descriptive, this study opens opportunities for in-depth tick feeding physiology studies.
Project description:Ixodes scapularis is the most medically important tick species and transmits five of the 14 reportable human tick borne disease (TBD) agents in the USA. This study describes LC-MS/MS identification of 582 tick- and 83 rabbit proteins in saliva of I. scapularis ticks that fed for 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h, as well as engorged but not detached (BD), and spontaneously detached (SD). The 582 tick proteins include proteases (5.7%), protease inhibitors (7.4%), unknown function proteins (22%), immunity/antimicrobial (2.6%), lipocalin (3.1%), heme/iron binding (2.6%), extracellular matrix/ cell adhesion (2.2%), oxidant metabolism/ detoxification (6%), transporter/ receptor related (3.2%), cytoskeletal (5.5%), and housekeeping-like (39.7%). Notable observations include: (i) tick saliva proteins of unknown function accounting for >33% of total protein content, (ii) 79% of proteases are metalloproteases, (iii) 13% (76/582) of proteins in this study were found in saliva of other tick species and, (iv) ticks apparently selectively inject functionally similar but unique proteins every 24 h, which we speculate is the tick's antigenic variation equivalent strategy to protect important tick feeding functions from host immune system. The host immune responses to proteins present in 24 h I. scapularis saliva will not be effective at later feeding stages. Rabbit proteins identified in our study suggest the tick's strategic use of host proteins to modulate the feeding site. Notably fibrinogen, which is central to blood clotting and wound healing, was detected in high abundance in BD and SD saliva, when the tick is preparing to terminate feeding and detach from the host. A remarkable tick adaptation is that the feeding lesion is completely healed when the tick detaches from the host. Does the tick concentrate fibrinogen at the feeding site to aide in promoting healing of the feeding lesion? Overall, these data provide broad insight into molecular mechanisms regulating different tick feeding phases. These data set the foundation for in depth I. scapularis tick feeding physiology and TBD transmission studies.
Project description:Ixodes species ticks are competent vectors of tick-borne viruses including tick-borne encephalitis and Powassan encephalitis. Tick saliva has been shown to facilitate and enhance viral infection. This likely occurs by saliva-mediated modulation of host responses into patterns favorable for viral infection and dissemination. Because of the rapid kinetics of tick-borne viral transmission, this modulation must occur as early as tick attachment and initiation of feeding. In this study, the gene expression profile of cutaneous bite-site lesions created by uninfected ticks were analyzed at 1, 3, 6, and 12 hours after Ixodes scapularis nymphal tick attachment to discover host pathways or responses potentially important in tick-borne viral establishment. Overall design: Four milimeter ear biopsies from BALB/cJ mice infested with Ixodes scapularis nymphs were assayed using Affymetrix genechip 430A 2.0 arrays at 1, 3, 6, and 12 hours after infestation during a primary exposure. 3 mice were measured at each time point. Controls were 3 similarly housed but tick-free mice.
Project description:Ticks successfully feed and transmit pathogens by injecting pharmacological compounds in saliva to thwart host defenses. We have previously used LC-MS/MS to identify proteins that are present in saliva of unfed Amblyomma americanum ticks that were exposed to different hosts. Here we show that A. americanum serine protease inhibitor (serpin) 27 (AAS27) is an immunogenic saliva protein that is injected into the host within the first day of tick feeding and is an anti-inflammatory protein that might act by blocking plasmin and trypsin functions. Although AAS27 is injected into the host throughout tick feeding, qRT-PCR and western blotting analyses indicate that the respective transcript and protein are present in high amounts within the first 24 h of tick feeding. Biochemical screening of Pichia pastoris-expressed recombinant (r) AAS27 against mammalian proteases related to host defense shows it is an inhibitor of trypsin and plasmin, with stoichiometry of inhibition indices of 3.5 and 3.8, respectively. Consistent with typical inhibitory serpins, rAAS27 formed heat- and SDS-stable irreversible complexes with both proteases. We further demonstrate that rAAS27 inhibits trypsin with ka of 6.46 ± 1.24 x 104 M-1 s-1, comparable to serpins of other tick species. We show that native AAS27 is part of the repertoire of proteins responsible for the inhibitory activity against trypsin in crude tick saliva. AAS27 is likely utilized by the tick to evade the hosts inflammation defense since rAAS27 blocks both formalin and compound 48/80-induced inflammation in rats. Tick immune sera of rabbits that had acquired resistance against tick feeding following repeated infestations with A. americanum or Ixodes scapularis ticks reacts with rAAS27. Of significant interest, antibody to rAAS27 blocks this serpin inhibitory functions. Taken together, we conclude that AAS27 is an anti-inflammatory protein secreted into the host during feeding and may represent a potential candidate for development of an anti-tick vaccine.
Project description:Ixodes species ticks are competent vectors of tick-borne viruses including tick-borne encephalitis and Powassan encephalitis. Tick saliva has been shown to facilitate and enhance viral infection. This likely occurs by saliva-mediated modulation of host responses into patterns favorable for viral infection and dissemination. Because of the rapid kinetics of tick-borne viral transmission, this modulation must occur as early as tick attachment and initiation of feeding. In this study, the gene expression profile of cutaneous bite-site lesions created by uninfected ticks were analyzed at 1, 3, 6, and 12 hours after Ixodes scapularis nymphal tick attachment to discover host pathways or responses potentially important in tick-borne viral establishment. Four milimeter ear biopsies from BALB/cJ mice infested with Ixodes scapularis nymphs were assayed using Affymetrix genechip 430A 2.0 arrays at 1, 3, 6, and 12 hours after infestation during a primary exposure. 3 mice were measured at each time point. Controls were 3 similarly housed but tick-free mice.
Project description:Ticks are efficient vectors of arboviruses, although less than 10% of tick species are known to be virus vectors. Most tick-borne viruses (TBV) are RNA viruses some of which cause serious diseases in humans and animals world-wide. Several TBV impacting human or domesticated animal health have been found to emerge or re-emerge recently. In order to survive in nature, TBV must infect and replicate in both vertebrate and tick cells, representing very different physiological environments. Information on molecular mechanisms that allow TBV to switch between infecting and replicating in tick and vertebrate cells is scarce. In general, ticks succeed in completing their blood meal thanks to a plethora of biologically active molecules in their saliva that counteract and modulate different arms of the host defense responses (haemostasis, inflammation, innate and acquired immunity, and wound healing). The transmission of TBV occurs primarily during tick feeding and is a complex process, known to be promoted by tick saliva constituents. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of TBV transmission are poorly understood. Immunomodulatory properties of tick saliva helping overcome the first line of defense to injury and early interactions at the tick-host skin interface appear to be essential in successful TBV transmission and infection of susceptible vertebrate hosts. The local host skin site of tick attachment, modulated by tick saliva, is an important focus of virus replication. Immunomodulation of the tick attachment site also promotes co-feeding transmission of viruses from infected to non-infected ticks in the absence of host viraemia (non-viraemic transmission). Future research should be aimed at identification of the key tick salivary molecules promoting virus transmission, and a molecular description of tick-host-virus interactions and of tick-mediated skin immunomodulation. Such insights will enable the rationale design of anti-tick vaccines that protect against disease caused by tick-borne viruses.
Project description:Tick infestations by Rhipicephalus microplus, the cattle tick, cause enormous losses to health and animal production. Ticks induce immune response in their hosts; therefore their immunobiological control is feasible. The available anti-tick vaccines display variable efficacy and short-lived, encouraging the search for new protective antigens. The identification of important genes in tick parasitism may indicate protective antigens useful to compose an anti-tick vaccine. We have developed and tested so far four recombinant salivary antigens as a multicomponent anti-tick vaccine in tick-susceptible bovines (Holstein breed). The challenge with R. microplus larvae displayed that tick infestation in vaccinated bovines was significantly reduced. In order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms trigged after immunisation and during infestation, RNA-seq data of peripheral blood from vaccinated and control animals were obtained in different periods of the immunisation trial. A total of 24 mRNA-seq Illumina libraries (single-end, 100 bp) were analysed to identify differential gene expression according to the experimental condition.
Project description:Understanding the molecular basis of how ticks adapt to feed on different animal hosts is central to understanding tick and tick-borne disease (TBD) epidemiology. There is evidence that ticks differentially express specific sets of genes when stimulated to start feeding. This study was initiated to investigate if ticks such as Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum that are adapted to feed on multiple hosts utilized the same sets of proteins to prepare for feeding. We exposed I. scapularis and A. americanum to feeding stimuli of different hosts (rabbit, human, and dog) by keeping unfed adult ticks enclosed in a perforated microfuge in close contact with host skin, but not allowing ticks to attach on host. Our data suggest that ticks of the same species differentially express tick saliva proteins (TSPs) when stimulated to start feeding on different hosts. SDS-PAGE and silver staining analysis revealed unique electrophoretic profiles in saliva of I. scapularis and A. americanum that were stimulated to feed on different hosts: rabbit, human, and dog. LC-MS/MS sequencing and pairwise analysis demonstrated that I. scapularis and A. americanum ticks expressed unique protein profiles in their saliva when stimulated to start feeding on different hosts: rabbit, dog, or human. Specifically, our data revealed TSPs that were unique to each treatment and those that were shared between treatments. Overall, we identified a total of 276 and 340 non-redundant I. scapularis and A. americanum TSPs, which we have classified into 28 functional classes including: secreted conserved proteins (unknown functions), proteinase inhibitors, lipocalins, extracellular matrix/cell adhesion, heme/iron metabolism, signal transduction and immunity-related proteins being the most predominant in saliva of unfed ticks. With exception of research on vaccines against Rhipicephalus microplus, which its natural host, cattle, research on vaccine against other ticks relies feeding ticks on laboratory animals. Data here suggest that relying on lab animal tick feeding data to select target antigens could result in prioritizing irrelevant anti-tick vaccine targets that are expressed when ticks feed on laboratory animals. This study provides the platform that could be utilized to identify relevant target anti-tick vaccine antigens, and will facilitate early stage tick feeding research.
Project description:The causal agents of Lyme disease in North America, Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii, are transmitted primarily by Ixodes scapularis ticks. Due to their limited metabolic capacity, spirochetes rely on the tick blood meal for nutrients and metabolic intermediates while residing in the tick vector, competing with the tick for nutrients in the blood meal. Metabolomics is an effective methodology to explore dynamics of spirochete survival and multiplication in tick vectors before transmission to a vertebrate host via tick saliva. Using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, we identified statistically significant differences in the metabolic profile among uninfected I. scapularis nymphal ticks, B. burgdorferi-infected nymphal ticks and B. mayonii-infected nymphal ticks by measuring metabolism every 24?hours over the course of their up to 96?hour blood meals. Specifically, differences in the abundance of purines, amino acids, carbohydrates, and fatty acids during the blood meal among the three groups of nymphal ticks suggest that B. mayonii and B. burgdorferi may have different metabolic capabilities, especially during later stages of nymphal feeding. Understanding mechanisms underlying variable metabolic requirements of different Lyme disease spirochetes within tick vectors could potentially aid development of novel methods to control spirochete transmission.