Molecular and pharmacological characterization of the Chelicerata pyrokinin receptor from the southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. Academic Article uri icon


  • We identified the first pyrokinin receptor (Rhimi-PKR) in Chelicerata and analyzed structure-activity relationships of cognate ligand neuropeptides and their analogs. Based on comparative and phylogenetic analyses, this receptor, which we cloned from larvae of the cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae), is the ortholog of the insect pyrokinin (PK)/pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN)/diapause hormone (DH) neuropeptide family receptor. Rhimi-PKR functional analyses using calcium bioluminescence were performed with a developed stable recombinant CHO-K1 cell line. Rhimi-PKR was activated by four endogenous PKs from the Lyme disease vector, the tick Ixodes scapularis (EC50s range: 85.4nM-546nM), and weakly by another tick PRX-amide peptide, periviscerokinin (PVK) (EC50=24.5M). PK analogs with substitutions of leucine, isoleucine or valine at the C-terminus for three tick PK peptides, Ixosc-PK1, Ixosc-PK2, and Ixosc-PK3, retained their potency on Rhimi-PKR. Therefore, Rhimi-PKR is less selective and substantially more tolerant than insect PK receptors of C-terminal substitutions of leucine to isoleucine or valine, a key structural feature that serves to distinguish insect PK from PVK/CAP2b receptors. In females, ovary and synganglion had the highest Rhimi-PKR relative transcript abundance followed by the rectal sac, salivary glands, Malpighian tubules, and midgut. This is the first pharmacological analysis of a PK/PBAN/DH-like receptor from the Chelicerata, which will now permit the discovery of the endocrinological roles of this neuropeptide family in vectors of vertebrate pathogens.

published proceedings

  • Insect Biochem Mol Biol

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, Y., Nachman, R. J., & Pietrantonio, P. V.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Yang, Yunlong||Nachman, Ronald J||Pietrantonio, Patricia V

publication date

  • January 2015