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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2008 Jul;38(7):721-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2008.04.004. Epub 2008 May 4.

Identification of two genes essential for sperm development in the male tick Amblyomma hebraeum Koch (Acari: Ixodidae).

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Z 606 Biological Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9.


In most ticks of the family Ixodidae, gonad maturation and spermatogenesis are stimulated by the taking of a blood meal. Previous work from this laboratory identified 35 genes that are up-regulated by feeding [Weiss, B.L., Stepczynski, J.M., Wong, P., Kaufman, W.R., 2002. Identification and characterization of genes differentially expressed in the testis/vas deferens of the fed male tick, Amblyomma hebraeum. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 32, 785-793]. The functions of most of these genes remain unknown. We used RNA interference technology to investigate the consequences of blocking the function of 13 of these genes. Attenuation of the expression of two of these in particular, AhT/VD 8 and AhT/VD 10, correlated with deformities in the testis and abnormalities in spermiogenesis. Furthermore, most females fed in the company of these males did not engorge properly and laid many fewer eggs, most of which were infertile.

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