Rhipicephalus Appendiculatus Salivary Glands: Identification of Bioactive Molecules and Antigens

  • Moses K. H. Limo
  • David C. Seldin
  • Wolf P. Voigt
  • Onesmo K. Ole Moiyoi


Rhipicephalus appendiculatus salivary glands extracts and saliva contain both biochemically active and pharmacological agents with various effector functions, including inhibition of host enzymes or inactivation of other host molecules that may be important in mounting tick rejection. The majority of these salivary biochemicals may interact with host antibodies at the feeding site or in the gut (or both), that interfere with proper tick attachment and feeding. The possible role of these biochemicals in tick feeding is discussed. Of particular interest is a salivary anticoagulant, which increased as feeding phase progressed and was present in all life cycle stages of the tick. Antibodies raised in rabbits against salivary gland extracts obtained from female R. appendiculatus fed on rabbits for various days, recognized several antigens on Western blots of salivary gland extracts, but failed to react with the purified tick salivary anticoagulant molecule. Thus, tick anticoagulant was poorly immunogenic compared to other salivary moieties. These results may help to explain the strategies adopted by the tick to circumvent biochemical detachment by the damaging host-protective immune responses, thereby enabling the vector to co-exist with its mammalian hosts.

Key Words

Ticks Rhipicephalus appendiculatus salivary gland extracts saliva bioactive molecules anticoagulant immunoblotting antigens immunization 


Les extraits de glandes salivaires et la salive de Rhipicephalus appendiculatus contiennent des substances biochimiques actives dont les diverses fonctions incluent entre autres l’inhibition des enzymes ou l’inactivation d’autres molécules de l’hôte; elles pourraient jouer un rôle important dans la rejection de la tique. La majorité de ces composés biochimiques pourraient réagir avec les anticorps de l’hôte au niveau de la prise de nourriture ou de l’estomac (ou les deux à la fois), et influencer la fixation de la tique sur l’hôte et la prise de nourriture. Le rôle possible de ces composés biochimiques au niveau de la tique est discuté. Un intérêt particulier est porté sur un anticoagulant contenu dans la salive et présent à tous les stades de développement du vecteur; le volume secrété de cet anticoagulant augmente au fur et à mesure que se poursuite le processus de prise de nourriture. Des anticorps produits à partir des lapins contre les extraits de glandes salivaires obtenus de la femelle de R. appendiculatus nourris plusiers jours sur de lapins, detectent plusiers antigéns grâce à la technique de “Western blot” utilisant des extraits de glandes salivaires, mais ne peuvant réagir avec la molécule purifiée de l’anticoagulant. Il a été déduit que l’anticoagulant contenu dans la salive de la tique est très peu immunogéne en comparaison avec d’autres molécules salivaires.

Ces résultats pourraient expliquer des stratégies adoptées par la tique pour empècher un détachment biochimique, par la destruction des réponses immunitaires de l’hôte, favorisant la coexistence du vecteur et de ses mamiféres hôtes.

Mots Clés

Tique Rhipicephalus appendiculatus extraits de glandes salivaires salive molécules bioactives anticoagulant immunoblotting antigénes immunisation 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moses K. H. Limo
    • 1
  • David C. Seldin
    • 2
  • Wolf P. Voigt
    • 1
  • Onesmo K. Ole Moiyoi
    • 1
  1. 1.International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD)NairobiKenya
  2. 2.Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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