Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-12-2016

Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Saliva is an integral factor in the feeding success of veterinary and medically important ticks. Therefore, the characterization of the proteins present in tick saliva is an important area of tick research. Here, we confirmed previously generated sialotranscriptome data using quantitative real-time PCR. The information obtained in this in-depth study of gene expression was used to measure the effects of metalloprotease gene silencing on tick feeding. We analyzed the temporal expression of seven housekeeping genes and 44 differentially expressed salivary molecules selected from a previously published Amblyomma americanum sialotranscriptome. Separate reference genes were selected for the salivary glands and midgut from among the seven housekeeping genes, to normalize the transcriptional expression of differentially expressed genes. The salivary gland reference gene, ubiquitin, was used to normalize the expression of 44 salivary genes. Unsurprisingly, each gene family was expressed throughout the blood meal, but the expression of specific genes differed at each time point. To further clarify the complex nature of the many proteins found in the saliva, we disrupted the translation of several members of the metalloprotease family. Intriguingly, the nucleotide sequence similarity of the reprolysin metalloprotease gene family is so homologous that a single synthesized dsRNA sequence knocked down multiple members of the family. The use of multigene knockdown yielded a more significant picture of the role of metalloproteases in tick feeding success, and changes were observed in the female engorgement weight and larval hatching success. Interestingly, the depletion of metalloprotease transcripts also reduced the total number of bacteria present in the salivary glands. These data provide insight into the expression and functions of tick salivary proteins expressed while feeding on its host.

Publication Title

PLOS One

Volume

11

Issue

2

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