Existence of phenol oxidase in the argasid tick Ornithodoros moubata
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Phenol oxidase (PO, EC 126.96.36.199) activity was detected in the hemolymph of the fourth instar nymphs of the argasid tick, Ornithodoros moubata, with peak levels corresponding to the days before the majority of the nymphs had molted, suggestive of a protective role of PO during the ecdysial phase. Higher PO activity was detected in plasma relative to the hemolymph and was negligible in hemocytes. The concentration of the hemolymph and plasma assayed clearly influenced the level of PO activity, and was significantly reduced (P<0.005) after treatment with 1-phenyl-2 thiourea, a specific PO inhibitor. This is the first report of the existence of PO in the hemolymph and plasma of a soft tick species. The regulation of PO activity and its precise role in soft tick immunity, particularly during the ecdysial phase, are interesting and need to be examined further.
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