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Keywords:

  • cytoskeletal actin;
  • gene expression;
  • real-time PCR;
  • arthropod

Abstract

Actin genes are found in all living organisms and highly conserved in various animals as shown by numerous studies on actin gene expression and function. Because of this ubiquitous nature of actin, it is often used as an internal control in gene expression studies. To clarify the suitability of actin gene as an internal control in soft ticks, isolation and expression analyses of an actin gene from Ornithodoros moubata was performed. An actin gene of Ornithodoros moubata (OmAct2, GenBank accession no. AB208021) with 1,131 bp and 376 amino acid residues was identified. The homology of OmAct2 with other arthropod actin genes was greater than 80% in nucleotides and 99% in amino acids. OmAct2 gene was classified as a cytoskeletal actin type by absence of muscle-specific amino acids commonly found in insects and ubiquitous expression in all stages and both sexes. Southern blot revealed that O. moubata has four to seven actin genes. In addition, actin expression analyzed by real-time PCR before and after blood feeding was not significantly different indicating OmAct2 is an appropriate internal control for the analysis of gene expression in these ticks. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 64:186–199, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.