Male tick-derived voraxinα and voraxinβ, a pair of testicular proteins, are transferred to female via copulation to stimulate female blood feeding in the tick Amblyomma hebraeum (A. hebraeum). Immunized animals with recombinant (r-)voraxinα and voraxinβ have been shown as highly resistant to the tick infestation. In this study, we describe the cloning and characterization of voraxinα homologue from the tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (R. appendiculatus), the major vector for East Coast fever in Eastern Africa. The sequence analysis of the R. appendiculatus voraxinα indicated that the deduced amino acid sequence had high similarity with voraxinα of the tick A. hebraeum and Dermacentor variabilis, suggesting that voraxinα is conserved in different tick genera. Quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting analysis showed that male voraxinα was predominantly expressed in testis and its expression was induced by blood feeding. R. appendiculatus voraxinα was not secreted into the host during tick feeding and was detected in mated female hemolymph as measured by Western blotting. Preliminary vaccination of rabbits with r-voraxinα elicited the humoral immunity and conferred protective immunity against female ticks, resulting in the reduced fed weight. These results suggest that r-voraxinα could be a good candidate as anti-tick vaccine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases