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Exp Parasitol. 2007 Jan;115(1):53-8. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Ixodes ricinus: the potential of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis as a tool for studying host-vector-pathogen interactions.

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Department of Genetics and Microbiology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark.


Ixodes ricinus is a three-host tick, with three active instars. For moulting to occur the tick has to find a host where it can take a blood meal. Throughout feeding I. ricinus can be infected or infect the host with different pathogens, e.g., Tick-Borne Encephalitis virus or Borrelia burgdorferi. The host-vector-pathogen interaction is very complex, making a detailed study difficult. Here we analyse the potential of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) to study the host-vector-pathogen interaction. We examined 20 nymphs, which as larvae parasitised either mouse or hen. After moulting, they were kept alive for up to 30 weeks, to analyse whether tick ageing influenced host determination, and for comparison of the 2D-gels. Even though the number of proteins in the gel decreased during ageing, some proteins of the host determination persisted for all 30 weeks. We also discovered persisting proteins in relation to nymphs. These findings showed that 2DE is suitable as a tool for studying host-vector-pathogen interactions.

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