Identification of 24h Ixodes scapularis immunogenic tick saliva proteins. Academic Article uri icon


  • Ixodes scapularis is arguably the most medically important tick species in the United States. This tick transmits 5 of the 14 human tick-borne disease (TBD) agents in the USA: Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, B. miyamotoi, Babesia microti, and Powassan virus disease. Except for the Powassan virus disease, I. scapularis-vectored TBD agents require more than 24h post attachment to be transmitted. This study describes identification of 24h immunogenic I. scapularis tick saliva proteins, which could provide opportunities to develop strategies to stop tick feeding before transmission of the majority of pathogens. A 24h fed female I. scapularis phage display cDNA expression library was biopanned using rabbit antibodies to 24h fed I. scapularis female tick saliva proteins, subjected to next generation sequencing, de novo assembly, and bioinformatic analyses. A total of 182 contigs were assembled, of which 19% (35/182) are novel and did not show identity to any known proteins in GenBank. The remaining 81% (147/182) of contigs were provisionally identified based on matches in GenBank including 18% (27/147) that matched protein sequences previously annotated as hypothetical and putative tick saliva proteins. Others include proteases and protease inhibitors (3%, 5/147), transporters and/or ligand binding proteins (6%, 9/147), immunogenic tick saliva housekeeping enzyme-like (17%, 25/147), ribosomal protein-like (31%, 46/147), and those classified as miscellaneous (24%, 35/147). Notable among the miscellaneous class include antimicrobial peptides (microplusin and ricinusin), myosin-like proteins that have been previously found in tick saliva, and heat shock tick saliva protein. Data in this study provides the foundation for in-depth analysis of I. scapularis feeding during the first 24h, before the majority of TBD agents can be transmitted.

published proceedings

  • Ticks Tick Borne Dis

altmetric score

  • 2.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Lewis, L. A., Radulovi, ., Kim, T. K., Porter, L. M., & Mulenga, A.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Lewis, Lauren A||Radulović, Željko M||Kim, Tae K||Porter, Lindsay M||Mulenga, Albert

publication date

  • April 2015