Molecular and biological characterization of the Amblyomma americanum organic anion transporter polypeptide.
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The organic anion transporting polypeptides (Oatps in rodents and other organism; OATPs in human) are Na(+)-independent transporters that shuttle a wide range of endogenous and xenobotic amphipathic compounds across plasma membranes. We previously discovered an Amblyomma americanum tick (Aam) Oatp cDNA among genes that were upregulated or induced in ticks that were stimulated to start feeding. In this study, we have characterized a 2860 bp full-length cDNA that encode a 724 amino acid putative protein. Bioinformatics and hydropathy analyses revealed that, in addition to the kazal-type serine proteinase inhibitor motif, AamOatp possess typical features that characterize the Oatp/OATP protein family, including 12 transmembrane (TM) domains, the consensus amino acid motif D-X-RW-(I,V)-GAWW-X-G-(F,L)-L and 11 consensus cysteine residues in the large extracellular domain between TM9 and TM10. AamOatp is constitutively and ubiquitously expressed, as determined by RT-PCR amplification of the transcript, in all organs of ticks that fed for 1-7 days. Analysis of the normalized transcript abundance revealed that from days 1 to 5 of feeding, AamOatp mRNA expression in the midgut (MG) was 60-80-fold higher than levels found in the salivary gland (SG), ovary (OV) and carcass (CA). By contrast, by day 7 of feeding, the AamOatp mRNA was 60-80-fold more strongly expressed in the OV than in the SG, MG and CA. These data strongly indicate that changing physiological needs during the tick feeding process influences transcriptional regulation of AamOatp. Our data also show that RNAi-mediated suppression of the AamOatp caused ticks to obtain smaller blood meals, which consequently resulted in ticks laying fewer eggs. The results are discussed in the context of AamOatp as a potential pharmacological or anti-tick vaccine target.