Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Evidence of the role of tick subolesin in gene expression

José de la Fuente12*, Christine Maritz-Olivier3, Victoria Naranjo2, Patricia Ayoubi4, Ard M Nijhof5, Consuelo Almazán6, Mario Canales2, José M Pérez de la Lastra2, Ruth C Galindo2, Edmour F Blouin1, Christian Gortazar2, Frans Jongejan57 and Katherine M Kocan1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA

2 Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain

3 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Agriculture Building, Lunnon Road, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa

4 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA

5 Utrecht Centre for Tick-borne Diseases (UCTD), Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 1, 3584CL, Utrecht, The Netherlands

6 Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Km. 5 carretera Victoria-Mante, CP 87000 Cd. Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico

7 Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, 0110, Onderstepoort, South Africa

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2008, 9:372  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-372

Published: 2 August 2008



Subolesin is an evolutionary conserved protein that was discovered recently in Ixodes scapularis as a tick protective antigen and has a role in tick blood digestion, reproduction and development. In other organisms, subolesin orthologs may be involved in the control of developmental processes. Because of the profound effect of subolesin knockdown in ticks and other organisms, we hypothesized that subolesin plays a role in gene expression, and therefore affects multiple cellular processes. The objective of this study was to provide evidence for the role of subolesin in gene expression.


Two subolesin-interacting proteins were identified and characterized by yeast two-hybrid screen, co-affinity purification and RNA interference (RNAi). The effect of subolesin knockdown on the tick gene expression pattern was characterized by microarray analysis and demonstrated that subolesin RNAi affects the expression of genes involved in multiple cellular pathways. The analysis of subolesin and interacting protein sequences identified regulatory motifs and predicted the presence of conserved protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation sites.


Collectively, these results provide evidence that subolesin plays a role in gene expression in ticks.