, Volume 37, Issue 3-4, pp 215-229

The Molecular and Biological Analysis of Ixodid Ticks Histamine Release Factors

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Abstract

We previously described a Dermacentor varibialis (DV) cDNA that encodes a ubiquitously expressed and tick saliva-secreted functional histamine release factor (HRF) homolog. In this study gene specific primers based on DVHRF open reading frame nucleotide sequence were utilized to amplify three orthologs, from the wood tick, D. andersoni (DA), the black legged tick, the southern cattle tick, Boophilus microplus (BM) and the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (AA). At nucleotide level, sequence comparisons revealed 98 89 and 84% similarity to DVHRF for DAHRF, AAHRF and BMHRF, respectively, while predicted polypeptide comparisons revealed 98, 96 and 91% similarity for DAHRF, AAHRF and BMHRF respectively. Phylogenetically, the tick HRF clade, while distinct (100% bootstrap value), is closely related to other arthropods, but distantly related to vertebrate and protozoan clades. Consistent with sequence similarity analysis, a DVHRF-specific northern blotting probe hybridized a ~900 base pair (bp) mRNA band on all RNA blots. Likewise a mouse polyclonal antibody to E. coli-expressed recombinant (r) DVHRF, cross-reacted baculovirus-expressed non-fusion rAAHRF, rDAHRF, and rBMHRF. As revealed by northern blotting analysis of larvae and nymph RNA, DVHRF mRNA is expressed in both immature and mature ticks indicating that its transcription is not developmentally regulated. Unlike rHRF/TCTP proteins of other organisms, the calcium-binding function may not be conserved for tick HRF homologs as revealed by the 45CaCl2+ overlay assay. Apparent global expression of DVHRF and its orthologs make this protein family an ideal target antigen for development of novel tick control strategies targeting multiple tick species.