Cloning and expression of the ecdysteroid receptor during ecdysis and reproduction in females of the soft tick, Ornithodoros moubata (Acari: Argasidae)


DeMar Taylor, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tennodai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8572, Japan. Tel./fax: 81 29 853 4806; e-mail:


Molecular mechanisms of ecdysteroid regulation in development and reproduction have been thoroughly investigated in Diptera and Lepidoptera, but few studies report the molecular actions of ecdysteroids in hemimetabolous insects and more primitive arthropods. Ecdysteroids appear to be the main hormones regulating development and vitellogenesis in ticks. An ecdysteroid receptor that showed high homology with EcRs of other arthropods was isolated from Ornithodoros moubata (OmEcRA). OmEcR expression patterns coincided with ecdysteroid titres in the haemolymph during moulting and vitellogenesis and differed between mated and virgin females. Therefore, OmEcR appears to mediate the regulation of moulting and vitellogenesis by ecdysteroids in O. moubata females as seen in other arthropods.