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International journal for parasitology

The impact of gene knock-down and vaccination against salivary metalloproteases on blood feeding and egg laying by Ixodes ricinus.


PMID 17959179

Abstract

Two cDNAs coding homologous putative metalloproteases (Metis 1 and Metis 2, expected molecular weights of 55.6 and 56.0kDa, respectively) were identified from the hard tick Ixodes ricinus. The expression of Metis genes was induced in salivary glands during tick blood meal. RNA interference was used to assess the role of both Metis 1 and Metis 2 in tick feeding. It was found that salivary gland extracts lacking Metis 1-2 had a restricted ability to interfere with fibrinolysis. RNAi against Metis 1-2 also induced a high mortality rate. An immune reaction was raised in repeatedly bitten animals against Metis 1 and 2. Vaccination of hosts with the recombinant Metis 1 protein produced in a eukaryotic system partially interfered with completion of the blood meal. Although vaccination did not alter the survival rate or feeding time of ticks, their weight gain and oviposition rate were reduced. This will affect their reproductive fitness in the field. We believe this is the first report of an anti-tick vaccine trial using a metalloprotease derived from I. ricinus.