Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Shahid Karim

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


Ticks play an important ecological role as well as a growing role in human health and veterinary care. Ticks are hosts to a plethora of microbial pathogens that can be transferred during feeding to cause tick-borne diseases in humans and many animals. Ticks may in large part owe the success of the transfer of these pathogens between hosts to their complex saliva. The saliva secreted upon a tick’s attachment to a host serves the following, among other, functions: anti-hemostasis of the blood pool, preventing an inflammatory response at the bite site, and serving as a natural anti-microbial substance. An important component of this functional saliva is multiple Glycine Rich Proteins (GRPs). We hypothesize that the GRPs found in the saliva produced by the Lone Star Tick, Amblyomma americanum, are responsible for these observed functions in the saliva; therefore, the aim of this research is to express and purify one particular protein, GRP 34358, to be used in further studies and assays to determine its role in anti host-response defenses. The DNA sequence corresponding to GRP 34358 was transformed into a plasmid containing a His-tag. The plasmid was then put through a restriction digestion to determine presence of the gene insert, and then sequenced to determine the orientation of the insert. The plasmid was transfected into a Vero cell line for protein expression. Expression and purification of this GRP would lead to valuable further studies of its function and structure—information that may lead to discoveries of multiple commercial uses such as a component of a biological adhesive or an anti-tick topical product.


Honors College Award: Excellence in Research