Open Access Open Badges Research article

A 24-48 h fed Amblyomma americanum tick saliva immuno-proteome

Željko M Radulović1, Tae K Kim1, Lindsay M Porter1, Sing-Hoi Sze23, Lauren Lewis1 and Albert Mulenga1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Entomology, AgriLife Research, Texas A & M University, 2475 TAMU, College Station TX77843, USA

2 Department of Computer Sciences and Engineering, Texas A & M University, College Station TX77843, USA

3 Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Texas A & M University, College Station TX77843, USA

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:518  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-518

Published: 24 June 2014



Multiple tick saliva proteins, the majority of which are unknown, confer tick resistance in repeatedly infested animals. The objective of this study was to identify the 24-48 h fed Amblyomma americanum tick saliva immuno-proteome. The 24-48 h tick-feeding phase is critical to tick parasitism as it precedes important events in tick biology, blood meal feeding and disease agent transmission. Fed male, 24 and 96 h fed female phage display cDNA expression libraries were biopanned using rabbit antibodies to 24 and 48 h fed A. americanum female tick saliva proteins. Biopanned immuno-cDNA libraries were subjected to next generation sequencing, de novo assembly, and bioinformatic analysis.


More than 800 transcripts that code for 24-48 h fed A. americanum immuno-proteins are described. Of the 895 immuno-proteins, 52% (464/895) were provisionally identified based on matches in GenBank. Of these, ~19% (86/464) show high level of identity to other tick hypothetical proteins, and the rest include putative proteases (serine, cysteine, leukotriene A-4 hydrolase, carboxypeptidases, and metalloproteases), protease inhibitors (serine and cysteine protease inhibitors, tick carboxypeptidase inhibitor), and transporters and/or ligand binding proteins (histamine binding/lipocalin, fatty acid binding, calreticulin, hemelipoprotein, IgG binding protein, ferritin, insulin-like growth factor binding proteins, and evasin). Others include enzymes (glutathione transferase, cytochrome oxidase, protein disulfide isomerase), ribosomal proteins, and those of miscellaneous functions (histamine release factor, selenoproteins, tetraspanin, defensin, heat shock proteins).


Data here demonstrate that A. americanum secretes a complex cocktail of immunogenic tick saliva proteins during the first 24-48 h of feeding. Of significance, previously validated immunogenic tick saliva proteins including AV422 protein, calreticulin, histamine release factor, histamine binding/lipocalins, selenoproteins, and paramyosin were identified in this screen, supporting the specificity of the approach in this study. While descriptive, this study opens opportunities for in-depth tick feeding physiology studies.

Amblyomma americanum; Tick saliva proteins; Biopanning; Immuno-proteome