Parasitology Research

, Volume 115, Issue 7, pp 2705–2713 | Cite as

A method to identify protein antigens of Dermanyssus gallinae for the protection of birds from poultry mites

  • Gustavo R. Makert
  • Susanne Vorbrüggen
  • Maria-Elisabeth Krautwald-Junghanns
  • Matthias Voss
  • Kai Sohn
  • Tilo Buschmann
  • Sebastian UlbertEmail author
Original Paper


The poultry red mite (PRM) Dermanyssus gallinae causes high economic losses and is among the most important parasites in poultry farming worldwide. Different chemical, physical, and biological strategies try to control the expansion of PRM. However, effective solutions to this problem still have to be found. Here, we present a method for the development of an immunological control strategy, based on the identification of mite protein antigens which elicit antibodies with anti-mite activity in the immunized chicken. Hens were immunized with different PRM protein extracts formulated with two different adjuvants, and IgY-antibodies were isolated from the eggs. A PRM in vitro feeding assay which used chicken blood spiked with these IgY-preparations was used to detect antibodies which caused PRM mortality. In vitro feeding of mites with IgY isolated from hens immunized with PRM extract formulated with one of the adjuvants showed a statistically significant increase in the mortality as compared to control mites. After the separation of total PRM extracts in two-dimensional gels, several protein spots were recognized by such IgY preparations. Ten protein spots were subjected to mass spectrometry (MS/MS) for the identification of the corresponding proteins. Complete protein sequences were deduced from genomic and transcriptomic assemblies derived from high throughput sequencing of total PRM DNA and RNA. The results may contribute to the development of an immunological control strategy of D. gallinae.


Poultry mite Antigen discovery Vaccine Pest control 



We thank Steffen Jakob, Ulrike Ehlert, and Maria Aulmann for the excellent technical assistance. We also thank Drs. Jasmin Fertey and Beyene Moges Agizie for critical reading of the manuscript and support in the statistical analysis. We thank Dr. Daniela Volke (University of Leipzig) for the analysis of PRM 2D gel protein spots.

Compliance with ethical standards

Authors’ contributions

GRM and SU conceived, designed and coordinated the study. GRM performed the experiments, SV carried out the immunizations. MEKJ and MV contributed expertise in birds and poultry experiment design. KS carried out essential sequencing of PRM DNA and RNA. TB performed bioinformatics and statistical analyses. GRM and SU analyzed and interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflict of interest

This study was funded by Lohmann Tierzucht GmbH. The funding body had no role in design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo R. Makert
    • 1
    • 2
  • Susanne Vorbrüggen
    • 2
  • Maria-Elisabeth Krautwald-Junghanns
    • 2
  • Matthias Voss
    • 3
  • Kai Sohn
    • 4
  • Tilo Buschmann
    • 1
  • Sebastian Ulbert
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and ImmunologyLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Clinic for Birds and ReptilesLeipzig UniversityLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Lohmann Tierzucht GmbHCuxhavenGermany
  4. 4.Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and BiotechnologyStuttgartGermany

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