[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of ticks to act as vectors for a wide range of serious human and animal infectious diseases is apparently linked to insufficiency of the tick immune system to effectively eliminate pathogens they transmit. At the tick-pathogen interface, an important role is presumably played by components of an ancient complement system that includes a repertoire of thioester-containing proteins (TEPs), which in Ixodes sp. comprises three α2-macroglobulins (A2M), three C3 complement component-related molecules (C3), two macroglobulin complement-related (Mcr) and one insect-type TEPs (Tep). In order to assess the function of TEPs in tick immunity, a quantitative real-time PCR expression analysis of tick TEPs was performed at various developmental stages of Ixodes ricinus, and in tissues dissected from adult females. Expression of TEP genes was mostly tissue specific; IrA2M1, IrC3-1, IrC3-3 were found to be expressed in cells of tick fat body adjacent to the tracheal trunks, IrA2M2 in hemocytes, IrTep in ovaries, IrMcr1 in salivary glands and only IrA2M3, IrC3-2 and IrMcr2 mRNAs were present in multiple organs. Expression of tick TEPs was further examined in response to injection of model microbes representing Gram-negative, Gram-positive bacteria and yeast. The greatest expression induction was observed for IrA2M1 and IrC3-1 after challenge with the yeast Candida albicans. Phagocytosis of the yeast was strongly dependent on an active thioester bond and the subsequent silencing of individual tick TEPs by RNA interference demonstrated the involvement of IrC3-1 and IrMcr2. This result suggests the existence of a distinct complement-like pathway, different from that leading to phagocytosis of Gram-negative bacteria. Understanding of the tick immune response against model microbes should provide new concepts for investigating interactions between ticks and relevant tick-borne pathogens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Limulus clotting factor C is a multi-domain serine protease that triggers horseshoe crab hemolymph clotting in the presence of trace amounts of bacterial lipopolysaccharides. Here we describe and functionally characterize an homologous molecule, designated as IrFC, from the hard tick Ixodes ricinus. Tick Factor C consists of an N-terminal cysteine-rich domain, four complement control protein (sushi) modules, an LCCL domain, a truncated C-lectin domain and a C-terminal trypsin-type domain. Developmental expression profiling by quantitative real-time PCR revealed that the irfc mRNA is expressed in all stages including eggs. In tissues dissected from adult I. ricinus females, the irfc mRNA is present mainly in tick hemocytes and accordingly, indirect immunofluorescence microscopy localized IrFC intracellularly, in tick hemocytes. Irfc mRNA levels were markedly increased upon injection0020of sterile saline, or different microbes, demonstrating that the irfc gene transcription occurs in response to injury. This indicates a possible role of IrFC in hemolymph clotting and/or wound healing, although these defense mechanisms have not been yet definitely demonstrated in ticks. RNAi silencing of irfc expression resulted in a significant reduction in phagocytic activity of tick hemocytes against the Gram-negative bacteria Chryseobacterium indologenes and Escherichia coli, but not against the yeast, Candida albicans. This result suggests that IrFC plays a role in the tick primordial complement system and as such possibly mediates transmission of tick-borne pathogens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ixodes ricinus transmits bacterial, protozoal and viral pathogens, causing disease and forming an increasing health concern in Europe. ANTIDotE is an European Commission funded consortium of seven institutes, which aims to identify and characterize tick proteins involved in feeding and pathogen transmission. The knowledge gained will be used to develop and evaluate anti-tick vaccines that may prevent multiple human tick-borne diseases. Strategies encompassing anti-tick vaccines to prevent transmission of pathogens to humans, animals or wildlife will be developed with relevant stakeholders with the ultimate aim of reducing the incidence of tick-borne diseases in humans.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Parasites & Vectors
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ticks are hematophagous arachnids transmitting a wide variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and protozoans to their vertebrate hosts. The tick vector competence has to be intimately linked to the ability of transmitted pathogens to evade tick defense mechanisms encountered on their route through the tick body comprising midgut, hemolymph, salivary glands or ovaries. Tick innate immunity is, like in other invertebrates, based on an orchestrated action of humoral and cellular immune responses. The direct antimicrobial defense in ticks is accomplished by a variety of small molecules such as defensins, lysozymes or by tick-specific antimicrobial compounds such as microplusin/hebraein or 5.3-kDa family proteins. Phagocytosis of the invading microbes by tick hemocytes is likely mediated by the primordial complement-like system composed of thioester-containing proteins, fibrinogen-related lectins and convertase-like factors. Moreover, an important role in survival of the ingested microbes seems to be played by host proteins and redox balance maintenance in the tick midgut. Here, we summarize recent knowledge about the major components of tick immune system and focus on their interaction with the relevant tick-transmitted pathogens, represented by spirochetes (Borrelia), rickettsiae (Anaplasma), and protozoans (Babesia). Availability of the tick genomic database and feasibility of functional genomics based on RNA interference greatly contribute to the understanding of molecular and cellular interplay at the tick-pathogen interface and may provide new targets for blocking the transmission of tick pathogens.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ticks are blood feeding parasites transmitting a wide variety of pathogens to their vertebrate hosts. The vector competence
of ticks is tightly linked with their immune system. Despite its importance, our knowledge of tick innate immunity is still
inadequate and the limited number of sufficiently characterized immune molecules and cellular reactions are dispersed across
numerous tick species. The phagocytosis of microbes by tick hemocytes seems to be coupled with a primitive complement-like
system, which possibly involves self/nonself recognition by fibrinogen-related lectins and the action of thioester-containing
proteins. Ticks do not seem to possess a pro-phenoloxidase system leading to melanization and also coagulation of tick hemolymph
has not been experimentally proven. They are capable of defending themselves against microbial infection with a variety of
antimicrobial peptides comprising lysozymes, defensins and molecules not found in other invertebrates. Virtually nothing is
known about the signaling cascades involved in the regulation of tick antimicrobial immune responses. Midgut immunity is apparently
the decisive factor of tick vector competence. The gut content is a hostile environment for ingested microbes, which is mainly
due to the antimicrobial activity of hemoglobin fragments generated by the digestion of the host blood as well as other antimicrobial
peptides. Reactive oxygen species possibly also play an important role in the tick-pathogen interaction. The recent release
of the Ixodes scapularis genome and the feasibility of RNA interference in ticks promise imminent and substantial progress in tick innate immunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Widespread and increasing resistance to most available acaracides threatens both global livestock industries and public health. This necessitates better understanding of ticks and the diseases they transmit in the development of new control strategies. Ticks: Biology, Disease and Control is written by an international collection of experts and covers in-depth information on aspects of the biology of the ticks themselves, various veterinary and medical tick-borne pathogens, and aspects of traditional and potential new control methods. A valuable resource for graduate students, academic researchers and professionals, the book covers the whole gamut of ticks and tick-borne diseases from microsatellites to satellite imagery and from exploiting tick saliva for therapeutic drugs to developing drugs to control tick populations. It encompasses the variety of interconnected fields impinging on the economically important and biologically fascinating phenomenon of ticks, the diseases they transmit and methods of their control.
• Arose from the Parasitology Supplement Ticks: Biology, Disease and Control (Cambridge University Press, 2004, Vol. 129) • Includes a chapter on Lyme diseases co-written by European and North American experts • Includes an up-to-date list of more than 900 valid genus and species names, a full list of tick-borne viruses, and each chapter contains a comprehensive reference list