Differential recognition by tick-resistant cattle of the recombinantly expressed Rhipicephalus microplus serine protease inhibitor-3 (RMS-3)
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Rhipicephalus microplus is an important bovine ectoparasite, widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world causing large economic losses to the cattle industry. Its success as an ectoparasite is associated with its capacity to disarm the antihemostatic and anti-inflammatory reactions of the host. Serpins are protease inhibitors with an important role in the modulation of host-parasite interactions. The cDNA that encodes for a R. microplus serpin was isolated by RACE and subsequently cloned into the pPICZaA vector. Sequence analysis of the cDNA and predicted amino acid showed that this cDNA has a conserved serpin domain. B- and T-cell epitopes were predicted using bioinformatics tools. The recombinant R. microplus serpin (rRMS-3) was secreted into the culture media of Pichia pastoris after methanol induction at 0.2mgl-1. qRT-PCR expression analysis of tissues and life cycle stages demonstrated that RMS-3 was mainly expressed in the salivary glands of female adult ticks. Immunological recognition of the rRMS-3 and predicted B-cell epitopes was tested using tick-resistant and susceptible cattle sera. Only sera from tick-resistant bovines recognized the B-cell epitope AHYNPPPPIEFT (Seq7). The recombinant RMS-3 was expressed in P. pastoris, and ELISA screening also showed higher recognition by tick-resistant bovine sera. The results obtained suggest that RMS-3 is highly and specifically secreted into the bite site of R. microplus feeding on tick-resistant bovines. Capillary feeding of semi-engorged ticks with anti-AHYNPPPPIEFT sheep sera led to an 81.16% reduction in the reproduction capacity of R. microplus. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that R. microplus serpin (RMS-3) has an important role in the host-parasite interaction to overcome the immune responses in resistant cattle.
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