International journal for parasitology

Proteomics informed by transcriptomics identifies novel secreted proteins in Dermacentor andersoni saliva.

PMID 25110293


Dermacentor andersoni, known as the Rocky Mountain wood tick, is found in the western United States and transmits pathogens that cause diseases of veterinary and public health importance including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, Colorado tick fever and bovine anaplasmosis. Tick saliva is known to modulate both innate and acquired immune responses, enabling ticks to feed for several days without detection. During feeding ticks subvert host defences such as hemostasis and inflammation, which would otherwise result in coagulation, wound repair and rejection of the tick. Molecular characterization of the proteins and pharmacological molecules secreted in tick saliva offers an opportunity to develop tick vaccines as an alternative to the use of acaricides, as well as new anti-inflammatory drugs. We performed proteomics informed by transcriptomics to identify D. andersoni saliva proteins that are secreted during feeding. The transcript data generated a database of 21,797 consensus sequences, which we used to identify 677 proteins secreted in the saliva of D. andersoni ticks fed for 2 and 5days, following proteomic investigations of whole saliva using mass spectrometry. Salivary gland transcript levels of unfed ticks were compared with 2 and 5day fed ticks to identify genes upregulated early during tick feeding. We cross-referenced the proteomic data with the transcriptomic data to identify 157 proteins of interest for immunomodulation and blood feeding. Proteins of unknown function as well as known immunomodulators were identified.