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Keywords:

  • Ixodes persulcatus;
  • Salp16;
  • immunosuppressant;
  • neutrophils

Abstract

Salp16, a 16-kDa tick salivary gland protein, is known to be the molecule involved in the transmission of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, an obligate intracellular pathogen causing zoonotic anaplasmosis, from its mammalian hosts to Ixodes scapularis. Recently, the presence of A. phagocytophilum was documented in Japan and Ixodes persulcatus was identified as one of its vectors. The purpose of this study was to identify Salp16 genes in I. persulcatus and characterize their function. Two cDNA clones encoding the Salp16-like sequences were obtained from the salivary glands of fed female I. persulcatus ticks and designated Salp16 Iper1 and Iper2. Gene expression analyses showed that the Salp16 Iper genes were expressed specifically in the salivary glands and were up-regulated by blood feeding. These proteins attenuated the oxidative burst of activated bovine neutrophils and inhibited their migration induced by the chemoattractant interleukin-8 (IL-8). These results demonstrate that Salp16 Iper proteins contribute to the establishment of blood feeding as an immunosuppressant of neutrophil, an essential factor in innate host immunity. Further examination of the role of Salp16 Iper in the transmission of pathogens, including A. phagocytophilum, will increase our understanding of the tick–host–pathogen interface.