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Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Ticks are haematophagous arthropods with unique molecular mechanisms for digesting host blood meal while acting as vectors for various pathogens of public health significance. The tick's pharmacologically active saliva plays a fundamental role in modulating the host's immune system for several days to weeks, depending on the tick species. The vector tick has also developed sophisticated molecular mechanisms to serve as a competent vector for pathogens, including the spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae. Evidence is still inadequate concerning tick–rickettsiae–host interactions and saliva-assisted transmission of the pathogen to the mammalian host. Rickettsia parkeri, of the SFG rickettsia, can cause a milder version of Rocky Mountain spotted fever known as American Boutonneuse fever. The Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum) often transmits this pathogenic rickettsia in the USA. This review discusses the knowledge gap concerning tick–rickettsiae–host interactions by highlighting the SFG rickettsia and the Am maculatum model system. Filling this knowledge gap will provide a better understanding of the tick–rickettsiae–host interactions in disease causation, which will be crucial for developing effective methods for preventing tick-borne diseases.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [Karim, S., Kumar, D., and Budachetri, K. (2021). "Recent advances in understanding tick and rickettsiae interactions". Parasite Immunology 43.], which has been published in final form at

Publication Title

Parasite Immunology





Available for download on Friday, April 15, 2022

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