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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Apr 13;12(4):e0006410. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006410. eCollection 2018 Apr.

Sialome diversity of ticks revealed by RNAseq of single tick salivary glands.

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Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.
Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.
Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda MD, United States of America.


Ticks salivate while feeding on their hosts. Saliva helps blood feeding through host anti-hemostatic and immunomodulatory components. Previous transcriptomic and proteomic studies revealed the complexity of tick saliva, comprising hundreds of polypeptides grouped in several multi-genic families such as lipocalins, Kunitz-domain containing peptides, metalloproteases, basic tail secreted proteins, and several other families uniquely found in ticks. These studies also revealed that the composition of saliva changes with time; expression of transcripts from the same family wax and wane as a function of feeding time. Here, we examined whether host immune factors could influence sialome switching by comparing sialomes of ticks fed naturally on a rabbit, to ticks artificially fed on defibrinated blood depleted of immune components. Previous studies were based on transcriptomes derived from pools of several individuals. To get an insight into the uniqueness of tick sialomes, we performed transcriptomic analyses of single salivary glands dissected from individual adult female I. ricinus ticks. Multivariate analysis identified 1,279 contigs differentially expressed as a function of time and/or feeding mode. Cluster analysis of these contigs revealed nine clusters of differentially expressed genes, four of which appeared consistently across several replicates, but five clusters were idiosyncratic, pointing to the uniqueness of sialomes in individual ticks. The disclosure of tick quantum sialomes reveals the unique salivary composition produced by individual ticks as they switch their sialomes throughout the blood meal, a possible mechanism of immune evasion.

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