Fundamental and applied studies of Ixodes ricinus salivary proteins / Etudes fondamentales et appliquées de protéines salivaires de la tique Ixodes ricinus

by Schroeder, Hélène

Abstract (Summary)
An increasing number of studies demonstrate that inhibition of host complement activation is crucial for completion of the blood feeding process of hematophagous parasites. A review of these studies has been published in Developmental and Comparative Immunology (Schroeder et al., (2009) Dev. Comp. Immunol. 33, 5-13). Several observations suggest that inhibition of the host complement alternative pathway by tick salivary proteins is crucial for the achievement of blood feeding and efficient transmission of the pathogens transmitted by the parasite. Strongly supporting this conclusion, a salivary protein able to inhibit the alternative pathway was cloned from the American tick Ixodes scapularis (Valenzuela et al., (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 18717-18723). Interestingly, this molecule, termed Isac, has no similarity to any previously reported anti-complement molecules suggesting that it has been acquired through a mechanism of convergent evolution. In addition to this fundamental aspect, Isac is also a promising candidate antigen for the development of an anti-tick vaccine potentially able to induce the reject of the tick and/or to prevent the transmission of the pathogens. The initial goal of the present work was to clone the orthologue of Isac from the European tick Ixodes ricinus. Interestingly, two different sequences were isolated from the transcriptome of I. ricinus salivary glands (Daix et al., (2007) Insect Mol. Biol. 16 (2), 155-166). Expression of these sequences revealed that they both encode secreted proteins able to inhibit the complement alternative pathway. These proteins were called I. ricinus anticomplement (IRAC) protein I and II. Further characterization of IRACs using monoclonal antibodies revealed that both proteins are expressed constitutively in I. ricinus salivary glands and are up-regulated during blood feeding. Analysis of a series of individual ticks revealed that all ticks tested express both IRAC I and IRAC II, demonstrating that they are the products of different genes and not of alleles of the same locus. Finally, phylogenetic analyses of the I. ricinus IRAC I and II sequences together with homologues from I. scapularis and I. pacificus demonstrates that ticks belonging to the Ixodes ricinus complex encode a new family of relatively small anti-complement molecules undergoing diversification by positive Darwinian selection. Phylogenetic analyses of IRACs suggested that these sequences were diversifying by a process of positive Darwinian selection, possibly leading to molecules with different biological properties. In the second study, we tested the hypothesis that each paralogue may have different inhibitory activities against the complement of different natural host species, thereby contributing to broaden the host range of I. ricinus ticks. The data obtained demonstrated that this working hypothesis is correct (Schroeder et al., (2007) Microbes Infect. 9 (2), 247-250). In the third and last chapter of the present manuscript, we addressed the potential of IRAC I and II as candidate antigens for the development of an anti-tick vaccine. Bovine herpesvirus 4 (BoHV-4) recombinants expressing IRAC I or II were produced. Interestingly, we observed that although both recombinants expressed high levels of functional IRAC proteins in vitro, our attempts to immunize rabbits against IRACs via infection with these viruses invariably failed. In order to improve the immunogenicity of IRACs expressed as transgene, a second generation of BoHV-4 recombinants was produced. The latter expressed IRACs as transmembrane fusion proteins on cell surface. Comparison of the vaccine potential of BoHV-4 recombinant viruses expressing either secreted or transmembrane IRAC proteins revealed that while the former did not induce a detectable immune response against IRACs, the latter led to high titers of anti-IRAC antibodies. However, the immune response induced against IRACs did not lead to the reject of the tick but only slightly increased the duration of the blood feeding process.
This document abstract is also available in French.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Schwartz-Cornil, Isabelle; Renauld, Jean-Christophe; Nizet, Yannick; Moutschen, Michel; Losson, Bertrand; Heinen, Ernst; Vanderplasschen, Alain

School:Université de Liège

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:immunization/immunisation viral vector/vecteur Ixodes ricinus host range/spectre d'hote salivary glands/glandes salivaires positive darwinian selection/selection darwinienne


Date of Publication:11/28/2008

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