Conserved Amblyomma americanum tick Serpin19, an inhibitor of blood clotting factors Xa and XIa, trypsin and plasmin, has anti-haemostatic functions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Tick saliva serine protease inhibitors (serpins) facilitate tick blood meal feeding through inhibition of protease mediators of host defense pathways. We previously identified a highly conserved Amblyomma americanum serpin 19 that is characterised by its reactive center loop being 100% conserved in ixodid ticks. In this study, biochemical characterisation reveals that the ubiquitously transcribed A. americanum serpin 19 is an anti-coagulant protein, inhibiting the activity of five of the eight serine protease blood clotting factors. Pichia pastoris-expressed recombinant (r) A. americanum serpin 19 inhibits the enzyme activity of trypsin, plasmin and blood clotting factors (f) Xa and XIa, with stoichiometry of inhibition estimated at 5.1, 9.4, 23.8 and 28, respectively. Similar to typical inhibitory serpins, recombinant A. americanum serpin 19 forms irreversible complexes with trypsin, fXa and fXIa. At a higher molar excess of recombinant A. americanum serpin 19, fXIIa is inhibited by 82.5%, and thrombin (fIIa), fIXa, chymotrypsin and tryptase are inhibited moderately by 14-29%. In anti-hemostatic functional assays, recombinant A. americanum serpin 19 inhibits thrombin but not ADP and cathepsin G activated platelet aggregation, delays clotting in recalcification and thrombin time assays by up to 250s, and up to 40s in the activated partial thromboplastin time assay. Given A. americanum serpin 19 high cross-tick species conservation, and specific reactivity of recombinant A. americanum serpin 19 with antibodies to A. americanum tick saliva proteins, we conclude that recombinant A. americanum serpin 19 is a potential candidate for development of a universal tick vaccine.

published proceedings

  • Int J Parasitol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, T. K., Tirloni, L., Radulovic, Z., Lewis, L., Bakshi, M., Hill, C., ... Mulenga, A.

citation count

  • 44

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Tae Kwon||Tirloni, Lucas||Radulovic, Zeljko||Lewis, Lauren||Bakshi, Mariam||Hill, Creston||da Silva Vaz, Itabajara||Logullo, Carlos||Termignoni, Carlos||Mulenga, Albert

publication date

  • January 2015