Rika Umemiya-Shirafuji

Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obibiro, Hokkaidō, Japan

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Publications (29)121.58 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In the present study, infection experiments of E. krijgsmanni using various hosts were conducted to elucidate the host specificity among some animals and the infectivity to mouse strains. According to the results, the infection was not found in most animals, except for rats, in which some oocyst shedding was detected, and there was no significant difference in infectivity among mouse strains. Additionally, oocyst shedding was hardly detectable in a secondary infection to immunocompetent mice, although it was found in immunodeficient mice. These results indicated that only immunocompetent mice could develop adaptive immunity against reinfection by stimuli of the primary infection. Furthermore, the infection experiments were performed with splenic macrophage (Mφ)-depleted mice with a reagent and Beige (Bg) mice known to be a strain of mice with low NK cell activity. No significant effect was found in primary or secondary infections in the Mφ-depleted mice, whereas the mortality rate was clearly increased in Bg mice inoculated with a large number of oocysts. Their oocyst shedding was similar to that of immunocompetent hosts. Taken together, these results suggested that Mφ has only a minor role in the immune response, but the NK cell has an important function in resistance to primary infection of E. krijgsmanni.
    Acta Parasitologica 06/2014; 59(2):337-42. · 1.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The adaptation and immunogenisity of Cryptosporidium parvum isolated from Siberian chipmunks (SC1 strain) in immunocompetent (ICR) mice were examined. The oocysts were received to the severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice by repeated passage. The oocysts collected from the 18(th) SCID mice were inoculated to 5 ICR mice. The mice began to shed oocysts from 6 days after inoculation, the patency was 5 days, and the maximum oocysts per gram of feces (OPG) value was 10(4). The maximum of OPG value was gradually increased by successive passage, and finally that in the 22(nd) mice reached 10(6) (patency: 11 days). It is considered that these results indicate completion of their adaptation to ICR mice. To examine the immunogenicity of C. parvum to ICR mice, 8 groups of 5 mice each were inoculated with 1.3 × 10(6) oocysts of SC1 strain, which were collected after adaptation to SCID mice. All groups shed oocysts from 6(th) day, and their patency was from 8 to 12 days. On the 21(st) day after the primary infection, these mice were challenged with 1.3 × 10(6) oocysts. No oocysts shed from any groups, although 2 control groups shed oocysts from the 6(th) day, and their OPG values were more than 10(6). These results suggest that this strain has strong immunogenicity against ICR mice. Therefore, the immunological healthy mice were considered a useful experimental model to investigate immunological and drug treatments in the strain of C. parvum.
    Acta Parasitologica 03/2014; 59(1):189-92. · 1.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ticks are obligate hematophagous arthropods with unique life cycles characterized by relatively short feeding periods and long non-feeding periods. They ambush a suitable host animal while staying in a pasture without any food source for up to several months. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying their exceptional viability, we focused on autophagy, a proteolysis system via the lysosomes that is induced by starvation in eukaryotes. We hypothesized that starved conditions facilitate autophagy during host-seeking periods in the life cycle of the tick. To date, homologues of five autophagy-related (ATG) genes, ATG3, ATG4, ATG6, ATG8, and ATG12, have been identified from the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. We showed previously that the mRNA levels of H. longicornis ATG (HlATG) genes were higher during the non-feeding period than the feeding period in the nymphal to adult stages. In addition, the expressions of HlATG3, HlATG4, HlATG8 and HlATG12 were highest in the egg compared to the other developmental stages in the same tick. In the present study, we used real-time polymerase chain reaction to examine the expression profiles of HlATG genes in the embryonic stage, larval to nymphal stages, and in internal organs of female ticks. We found that the HlATG genes were expressed at the highest levels in developing eggs on day 0 after oviposition. The levels of HlATG4 and HlATG8 were higher during the non-feeding period than the feeding period in the larval to nymphal stages. In the adults, the unfed condition appeared to be associated with the increased expression of HlATG genes in the fat body and midgut, which are nutrient storage organs; however, the expression patterns of HlATG genes varied in other organs. These results suggest that an up-regulation of HlATG genes is not always induced in different organs of unfed female ticks. Taken together, our findings raise the new possibility that HlATG genes play distinct biological roles in eggs, unfed ticks, engorged ticks (metamorphosis), and in each organ.
    Veterinary Parasitology 02/2014; · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ticks are obligate hematophagous parasites that have successfully developed counteractive means against their hosts' immune and hemostatic mechanisms, but their ability to cope with potentially toxic molecules in the blood remains unclear. Iron is important in various physiological processes but can be toxic to living cells when in excess. We previously reported that the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis has an intracellular (HlFER1) and a secretory (HlFER2) ferritin, and both are crucial in successful blood feeding and reproduction. Ferritin gene silencing by RNA interference caused reduced feeding capacity, low body weight and high mortality after blood meal, decreased fecundity and morphological abnormalities in the midgut cells. Similar findings were also previously reported after silencing of ferritin genes in another hard tick, Ixodes ricinus. Here we demonstrated the role of ferritin in protecting the hard ticks from oxidative stress. Evaluation of oxidative stress in Hlfer-silenced ticks was performed after blood feeding or injection of ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) through detection of the lipid peroxidation product, malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein oxidation product, protein carbonyl. FAC injection in Hlfer-silenced ticks resulted in high mortality. Higher levels of MDA and protein carbonyl were detected in Hlfer-silenced ticks compared to Luciferase-injected (control) ticks both after blood feeding and FAC injection. Ferric iron accumulation demonstrated by increased staining on native HlFER was observed from 72 h after iron injection in both the whole tick and the midgut. Furthermore, weak iron staining was observed after Hlfer knockdown. Taken together, these results show that tick ferritins are crucial antioxidant molecules that protect the hard tick from iron-mediated oxidative stress during blood feeding.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e90661. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haemaphysalis longicornis is known as one of the most important ticks transmitting Babesia parasites in East Asian countries, including Babesia ovata and Babesia gibsoni, as well as Theileria parasites. H. longicornis is not the natural vector of Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina. Vector ticks and transmitted parasites are thought to have established unique host-parasite interaction for their survival, meaning that vector ticks may have defensive molecules for the growth control of parasites in their bodies. However, the precise adaptation mechanism of tick-Babesia parasites is still unknown. Recently, cyclophilin A (CyPA) was reported to be important for the development of Babesia parasites in ticks. To reveal a part of their adaptation mechanism, the current study was conducted. An injection of B. bovis-infected RBCs into adult female H. longicornis ticks was found to upregulate the expression profiles of the gene and protein of CyPA in H. longicornis (HlCyPA). In addition, recombinant HlCyPA (rHlCyPA) purified from Escherichia coli exhibited significant inhibitory growth effects on B. bovis and B. bigemina cultivated in vitro, without any hemolytic effect on bovine RBCs at all concentrations used. In conclusion, our results suggest that HlCyPA might play an important role in the growth regulation of Babesia parasites in H. longicornis ticks, during natural acquisition from an infected host. Furthermore, rHlCyPA may be a potential alternative chemotherapeutic agent against babesiosis.
    Parasitology Research 03/2013; · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ticks are obligate hematophagous parasites and important vectors of diseases. The large amount of blood they consume contains great quantities of iron, an essential but also toxic element. The function of ferritin, an iron storage protein, and iron metabolism in ticks need to be further elucidated. Here, we investigated the function a newly identified secreted ferritin from the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis (HlFER2), together with the previously identified intracellular ferritin (HlFER1). Recombinant ferritins, expressed in Escherichia coli, were used for anti-serum preparation and also assayed for iron-binding activity. RT-PCR and Western blot analyses of different organs and developmental stages of the tick during blood feeding were performed. The localization of ferritins in different organs was demonstrated through an indirect immunofluorescent antibody test. RNA interference (RNAi) was performed to evaluate the importance of ferritin on blood feeding and reproduction of ticks. The midgut was also examined after RNAi using light and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). RT-PCR showed differences in gene expression in some organs and developmental stages. Interestingly, only HlFER2 was detected in the ovary during oviposition and in egg despite the low mRNA transcript. RNAi induced reduced post-blood meal body weight, high mortality, and decreased fecundity. The expression of vitellogenin genes were affected by silencing of ferritin. Abnormalities in digestive cells, including disrupted microvilli, and alteration of digestive activity were also observed. Taken altogether, our results showed that the iron storage and protective functions of ferritin are critical to successful blood feeding and reproduction of H. longicornis.
    Journal of Experimental Biology 02/2013; · 3.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transferrin is known to be an iron transporter in vertebrates and several arthropods. Iron from host blood is essential for ovarian development in blood-sucking arthropods. However, tick transferrin has been identified in only a few species, and its function has yet to be elucidated, resulting in incomplete understanding of iron metabolism in ticks. Here, we investigated the transfer of host-derived transferrin in the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis using immunological methods. Western blot showed that host-derived transferrin was maintained in all developmental stages of ticks up to 28 days after engorgement and was detected in the midgut and the ovary of adult females following blood feeding. However, no host-derived transferrin was detected in eggs after laying or in larvae after hatching, indicating that host-derived transferrin is not transferred to offspring transovarially. Indirect immunofluorescent antibody testing showed the localization of host-derived transferrin in digestive cells of the midgut and oocytes of the ovary from engorged adult females. These results suggest that host-derived transferrin is transferred to the ovary through the midgut and the hemolymph, and raise the possibility of the function of host-derived transferrin as an iron source in the ovary, providing additional insight on iron metabolism in ticks.
    Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 01/2013; · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vitellogenin (Vg) synthesis, vitellogenesis, is an essential process for the development and reproduction of ticks. Our previous finding led to the hypothesis that target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway is important for vitellogenesis in the hard tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis. The TOR pathway controls cellular activity according to nutrient availability in eukaryotes. TOR, a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase family, is a central player in this pathway. Here, we present preliminary evidence that H. longicornis TOR (HlTOR) controls vitellogenesis via activation of S6 kinase (S6K) in the fat body. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated gene silencing of HlTOR was undertaken to elucidate the involvement of HlTOR in the vitellogenesis of the tick. HlTOR-RNAi caused inhibition of S6K phosphorylation in the fat body. HlTOR-RNAi also altered not only the expression levels of GATA mRNA and protein but also the intracellular localisation of GATA in the fat body. The expression levels of Vg mRNA and protein in the fat body of HlTOR-RNAi ticks were significantly lower than those in control ticks. In the pre-ovipositional stage, the ovaries of control ticks had brown oocytes developing, but those of HlTOR-RNAi ticks were white and immature. The haemolymph colour indicated that the amount of Vg was lower in HlTOR-RNAi ticks than in the controls. Furthermore, rapamycin inhibited S6K phosphorylation and reduced the expression levels of Vg mRNA and protein in the fat bodies. Vg proteins were not detected in rapamycin-treated fat bodies in the presence of 20-hydroxyecdysone. These results suggest that HlTOR activity is critical for vitellogenesis stimulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone.
    International journal for parasitology 09/2012; · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 4E-BP, an eIF4E-binding protein, is well known as a cap-dependent translation inhibitor. Here, the 4E-BP homolog, Hl4E-BP, was isolated and identified from the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. Hl4E-BP transcripts were ubiquitously expressed in the active stages, including the larvae, nymphs, and female adults, and the transcription levels were found to be higher in unfed than engorged ticks. In contrast, the expression levels of non-phosphorylated Hl4E-BP, which is a 13.4-kDa protein detected by the anti-recombinant Hl4E-BP antibody, were the highest in engorged ticks and significantly decreased progressively during the unfed starvation period of ticks. The functional role of Hl4E-BP as a metabolic brake was verified by histochemical observations on the lipid storage in midguts and fat bodies during the starvation period using ticks injected with dsHl4E-BP. The results indicate that Hl4E-BP is highly relevant to the lipid storage of ticks during the non-feeding starvation period. Our results suggest, for the first time, that Hl4E-BP may have a crucial role in the starvation resistance of ticks in an off-host condition via lipid metabolism control, although it was unclear whether Hl4E-BP might be involved in lipid synthesis regulation and/or lipid consumption inhibition.
    Parasitology Research 05/2012; 111(2):889-96. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
    Autophagy 04/2012; 8(4):445-544. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
    Autophagy 04/2012; 8(4):445. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    Autophagy 04/2012; 8(4):1-100. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ixodid ticks transmit various pathogens of deadly diseases to humans and animals. However, the specific molecule that functions in the recognition and control of pathogens inside ticks is not yet to be identified. Class B scavenger receptor CD36 (SRB) participates in internalization of apoptotic cells, certain bacterial and fungal pathogens, and modified low-density lipoproteins. Recently, we have reported on recombinant HlSRB, a 50-kDa protein with one hydrophobic SRB domain from the hard tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis. Here, we show that HlSRB plays vital roles in granulocyte-mediated phagocytosis to invading Escherichia coli and contributes to the first-line host defense against various pathogens. Data clearly revealed that granulocytes that up-regulated the expression of cell surface HlSRB are almost exclusively involved in hemocyte-mediated phagocytosis for E. coli in ticks, and post-transcriptional silencing of the HlSRB-specific gene ablated the granulocytes' ability to phagocytose E. coli and resulted in the mortality of ticks due to high bacteremia. This is the first report demonstrating that a scavenger receptor molecule contributes to hemocyte-mediated phagocytosis against exogenous pathogens, isolated and characterized from hematophagous arthropods.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e33504. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ticks grow rapidly during blood feeding, and their body weight may ultimately increase 100-fold more than that before feeding. The molecular mechanisms controlling growth during blood feeding in ticks remain largely unknown. The conserved insulin/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway regulates growth and metabolism in eukaryotes. Here, we show evidence for the involvement of Akt in growth during blood feeding in the parthenogenetic strain of the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. We identified a homolog of the Ser/Thr kinase Akt (HlAkt) from the EST database of the H. longicornis embryo. HlAkt cDNA had a 1,590 bp ORF that encodes 529 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 60 kDa. HlAkt possesses a PH domain, a Ser/Thr kinase domain, a hydrophobic motif, and dual phosphorylation residues (Thr 338 and Ser 503) that are essential for kinase activation. Knockdown of HlAkt by RNA interference caused inhibition of blood feeding in female ticks. Histological observation demonstrated that HlAkt knockdown led to the arrest of growth in internal organs. HlAkt knockdown also affected the expressions of blood meal-induced genes that are essential for blood digestion, development, and reproduction in the female tick. These results strongly indicate that HlAkt is essential to complete the blood feeding process accompanied by the growth of internal organs in adult ticks. This is the first report of identification and characterization of Akt in Chelicerata, including ticks.
    Insect biochemistry and molecular biology 12/2011; 42(3):164-73. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Babesiosis is one of the most important tick-borne diseases affecting livestock that can cause major economic losses worldwide particularly in the tropics. Control relies on controlling both the protozoan parasite and the tick vector. Antiprotozoal drugs are most commonly used for treatment, but problems on emergence of resistant strains and food residues are encountered. Longicin, a defensin-like peptide identified from the hard tick, Haemapysalis longicornis, as well as one of its synthetic partial analogs (P4), were previously reported to exert antimicrobial, fungicidal, and parasiticidal activity. Both longicin and P4 showed babesiacidal activity, in vitro and in vivo. Here, peptide fragments of P4 were studied for in vitro activity against bovine Babesia parasites. One of the peptide fragments, antimicrobial peptide 1 (AMP1), reduced the parasitemia of Babesia bigemina. No peptide had significant effect on Babesia bovis. The sequence of AMP1 corresponded to the longicin sequence which is associated with antiparasitic activity. Although AMP1 caused reduction in parasitemia of B. bigemina, the difference in morphology of the parasite compared with the control group was not statistically significant. However, the percentage occurrence of piroplasms decreased, whereas the abnormal pycnotic form increased. The results demonstrated that this shorter peptide retained the anti-babesial activity of the parent peptide, exerting an antiparasitic effect against a bovine Babesia species. Therefore, this short peptide can be considered for chemical synthesis as an alternative therapeutic agent for babesiosis.
    Tropical Animal Health and Production 11/2011; 44(2):343-8. · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Haemaphysalis longicornis longicin P4 peptide is an active part peptide produced by longicin which displays bactericidal activity against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and other microorganisms. In the present study, the effect of the longicin P4 peptide on the infectivity of Toxoplasma gondii parasites was examined in vitro. Tachyzoites of T. gondii incubated with longicin P4 had induced aggregation and lost the trypan blue dye exclusion activity and the invasion ability into the mouse embryonal cell line (NIH/3T3). Longicin P4 bound to T. gondii tachyzoites, as demonstrated by fluoresce microscopic analysis. An electron microscopic analysis and a fluorescence propidium iodide exclusion assay of tachyzoites exposed to longicin P4 revealed pore formation in the cellular membrane, membrane disorganization, and hollowing as well as cytoplasmic vacuolization. The number of tachyzoites proliferated in mouse macrophage cell line (J774A.1) was significantly decreased by incubation with longicin P4. These findings suggested that longicin P4 conceivably impaired parasite membranes, leading to the destruction of Toxoplasma parasites in J774A.1 cells. Thus, longicin P4 is an interesting candidate for antitoxoplasmosis drug design that causes severe toxicity to T. gondii and plays an important role in reducing cellular infection. This is the first report showing that longicin P4 causes aggregation and membrane injury of parasites, leading to Toxoplasma tachyzoite destruction.
    Peptides 08/2011; 34(1):242-50. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy is the intracellular protein degradation process which is induced by starvation. Ticks have a unique tolerance for starvation, and it is possible that this tolerance is associated with their longevity. Previously, we isolated the homologues of four autophagy-related (ATG) genes in the hard tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, suggesting that autophagy appeared to play an important role in tolerance for starvation as well as the development of ticks. In this study, the homologue of ATG6 was isolated from H. longicornis (HlATG6). HlATG6 mRNA expression was higher in the egg and unfed larval stages than in other stages and upregulated in ovaries during the blood-feeding period. Moreover, HlATG6-knockdowned ticks laid a few and poorly developed eggs that were white brown in color and not well surface-coated with wax. However, the expression of vitellogenin (Vg)-2, HlVg-2, in the fat body of HlATG6-knockdowned ticks was significantly upregulated. In addition, hemolymph had a deep brown color in HlATG6-knockdowned ticks on day 21 after engorgement and drop-off, indicating that the Vgs synthesized by the fat body and midgut are retained and accumulated in the hemolymph of HlATG6-knockdowned ticks, probably due to the downregulation of the Vg uptake capability of oocytes. Interestingly, HlATG6 knockdown provided non-significant influences on the expression of the Vg receptor (HlVgR) at oocytes, suggesting a non-significant depression of VgR-mediated endocytosis in the oocytes of HlATG6-knockdowned ticks. Therefore, it was interpreted that the repression of Vg uptake in the oocytes of HlATG6-knockdowned ticks may be involved in endocytic processes other than the receptor recognition of Vgs in oocytes.
    Parasitology Research 05/2011; 109(5):1341-9. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Scavenger receptors (SRs) are cell-surface proteins and exhibit distinctive ligand-binding properties, recognizing a wide range of ligands that include microbial surface constituents and intact microbes. The class B scavenger receptor CD36 (SRB) is predominantly expressed by macrophages and is considered important in innate immunity. We here show the identification and characterization of SRB from the hard ixodid tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis (HlSRB). The full-length cDNA was 2,908 bp, including an ORF encoding of 1,518 amino acids with a pI value of 5.83. H. longicornis SRB contains a hydrophobic SRB domain and four centrally clustered cysteine residues for arrangement of disulfide bridges. Deduced amino acid sequence has an identity of 30-38% with the SRB of other organisms. RT-PCR analysis showed that mRNA transcripts were expressed in multiple organs of adult ticks but with a different transcript level in the developmental stages of H. longicornis ticks. His-tagged recombinant HlSRB was expressed in Escherichia coli with an expected molecular mass of 50 kDa. In Western blot analysis, mouse anti-rHlSRB serum recognized a strong reaction with a 50 kDa protein band in lysates prepared from egg and adult tick but showed a weak reaction with lysates of larva and nymph. In an indirect immunofluorescent antibody test, HlSRB antiserum recognized the protein located on the midgut, salivary glands, and ovary of partially fed H. longicornis females. Silencing of the HlSRB gene by RNAi led to a significant reduction in the engorged female body weight. It is noteworthy that more than a dozen SRB orthologs have been identified in the genomes of insect species with functions related to pheromone signaling, innate immunity, phagocytic clearance of apoptotic cells, and various aspects of the fatty acid metabolism. This is the first report of the identification and characterization of the SRB homologue in Chelicerata, including ticks, horseshoe crabs, scorpions, spiders, and mites.
    Parasitology Research 02/2011; 108(2):273-85. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference is an efficient method to silence gene and protein expressions. Here, the class B scavenger receptor CD36 (SRB) mediated the uptake of exogenous dsRNAs in the induction of the RNAi responses in ticks. Unfed female Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks were injected with a single or a combination of H. longicornis SRB (HlSRB) dsRNA, vitellogenin-1 (HlVg-1) dsRNA, and vitellogenin receptor (HlVgR) dsRNA. We found that specific and systemic silencing of the HlSRB, HlVg-1, and HlVgR genes was achieved in ticks injected with a single dsRNA of HlSRB, HlVg-1, and HlVgR. In ticks injected first with HlVg-1 or HlVgR dsRNA followed 96 hours later with HlSRB dsRNA (HlVg-1/HlSRB or HlVgR/HlSRB), gene silencing of HlSRB was achieved in addition to first knockdown in HlVg-1 or HlVgR, and prominent phenotypic changes were observed in engorgement, mortality, and hatchability, indicating that a systemic and specific double knockdown of target genes had been simultaneously attained in these ticks. However, in ticks injected with HlSRB dsRNA followed 96 hours later with HlVg-1 or HlVgR dsRNAs, silencing of HlSRB was achieved, but no subsequent knockdown in HlVgR or HlVg-1 was observed. The Westernblot and immunohistochemical examinations revealed that the endogenous HlSRB protein was fully abolished in midguts of ticks injected with HlSRB/HlVg-1 dsRNAs but HlVg-1 was normally expressed in midguts, suggesting that HlVg-1 dsRNA-mediated RNAi was fully inhibited by the first knockdown of HlSRB. Similarly, the abolished localization of HlSRB protein was recognized in ovaries of ticks injected with HlSRB/HlVgR, while normal localization of HlVgR was observed in ovaries, suggesting that the failure to knock-down HlVgR could be attributed to the first knockdown of HlSRB. In summary, we demonstrated for the first time that SRB may not only mediate the effective knock-down of gene expression by RNAi but also play essential roles for systemic RNAi of ticks.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e28407. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A full-length cDNA-encoding lysozyme was obtained from cDNA libraries of salivary glands of the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis and designated as HlLysozyme. The HlLysozyme sequence represents an open reading frame for a putative signal peptide and the mature protein composed of 121 amino acids. The calculated molecular weight of the protein is 13.7 kDa, and the theoretical isoelectric point is 9.85. HlLysozyme shares 41-79% amino acid sequence identity with the lysozymes of other organisms. The activity of recombinant HlLysozyme expressed in Escherichia coli was confirmed by a lytic zone assay using lyophilized Micrococcus lysodeikticus. The HlLysozyme activity decreased at 70 °C and was demonstrated at acidic side and neutral in a pH range. Elevated gene expression of HlLysozyme was observed when female ticks were challenged with bacteria, suggesting possible roles of lysozyme as an innate immunity of ticks against microorganisms.
    Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 12/2010; 1(4):178-85. · 2.35 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

523 Citations
121.58 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013–2014
    • Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
      • National Research Center for Protozoan Diseases
      Obibiro, Hokkaidō, Japan
  • 2008–2013
    • Kagoshima University
      • • Department of Veterinary Medicine
      • • Faculty of Agriculture
      Kagosima, Kagoshima, Japan
  • 2012
    • University of Michigan
      • Life Sciences Institute
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 2011–2012
    • Yamaguchi University
      Yamaguti, Yamaguchi, Japan
  • 2010
    • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
      Modène, Emilia-Romagna, Italy