Molecular and functional characterization of vacuolar-ATPase from the American dog tick Dermacentor variabilis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Vacuolar (V)-ATPase is a proton-translocating enzyme that acidifies cellular compartments for various functions such as receptor-mediated endocytosis, intracellular trafficking and protein degradation. Previous studies in Dermacentor variabilis chronically infected with Rickettsia montanensis have identified V-ATPase as one of the tick-derived molecules transcribed in response to rickettsial infection. To examine the role of the tick V-ATPase in tick-Rickettsia interactions, a full-length 2887-bp cDNA (2532-bp open reading frame) clone corresponding to the transcript of the V0 domain subunit a of D. variabilis V-ATPase (DvVATPaseV0a) gene encoding an 843 amino acid protein with an estimated molecular weight of ~96 kDa was isolated from D. variabilis. Amino acid sequence analysis of DvVATPaseV0a showed the highest similarity to VATPaseV0a from Ixodes scapularis. A potential N-glycosylation site and eight putative transmembrane segments were identified in the sequence. Western blot analysis of tick tissues probed with polyclonal antibody raised against recombinant DvVATPaseV0a revealed the expression of V-ATPase in the tick ovary. Transcriptional profiles of DvVATPaseV0a demonstrated a greater mRNA expression in the tick ovary, compared with the midgut and salivary glands; however, the mRNA level in each of these tick tissues remained unchanged after infection with R. montanensis for 1 h. V-ATPase inhibition bioassays resulted in a significant decrease in the ability of R. montanensis to invade tick cells in vitro, suggesting a role of V-ATPase in rickettsial infection of tick cells. Characterization of tick-derived molecules involved in rickettsial infection is essential for a thorough understanding of rickettsial transmission within tick populations and the ecology of tick-borne rickettsial diseases.

published proceedings

  • Insect Mol Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Petchampai, N., Sunyakumthorn, P., Guillotte, M. L., Thepparit, C., Kearney, M. T., Mulenga, A., Azad, A. F., & Macaluso, K. R.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Petchampai, N||Sunyakumthorn, P||Guillotte, ML||Thepparit, C||Kearney, MT||Mulenga, A||Azad, AF||Macaluso, KR

publication date

  • February 2014