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Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus tick in vitro feeding methods for functional (dsRNA) and vaccine candidate (antibody) screening

Lew-Tabor, A.E., Bruyeres, A.G., Zhang, B. and Rodriguez Valle, M. (2014) Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus tick in vitro feeding methods for functional (dsRNA) and vaccine candidate (antibody) screening. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 5 (5). pp. 500-510.

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Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks cause economic losses for cattle industries throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world estimated at $US2.5 billion annually. Lack of access to efficacious long-lasting vaccination regimes and increases in tick acaricide resistance have led to the investigation of targets for the development of novel tick vaccines and treatments. In vitro tick feeding has been used for many tick species to study the effect of new acaricides on the transmission of tick-borne pathogens. Few studies have reported the use of in vitro feeding for functional genomic studies using RNA interference and/or the effect of specific anti-tick antibodies. In particular, in vitro feeding reports for the cattle tick are limited due to its relatively short hypostome. Previously published methods were further modified to broaden optimal tick sizes/weights, feeding sources including bovine and ovine serum, optimisation of commercially available blood anti-coagulant tubes, and IgG concentrations for effective antibody delivery. Ticks are fed overnight and monitored for ∼5-6 weeks to determine egg output and success of larval emergence using a humidified incubator. Lithium-heparin blood tubes provided the most reliable anti-coagulant for bovine blood feeding compared with commercial citrated (CPDA) and EDTA tubes. Although >30 mg semi-engorged ticks fed more reliably, ticks as small as 15 mg also fed to repletion to lay viable eggs. Ticks which gained less than ∼10 mg during in vitro feeding typically did not lay eggs. One mg/ml IgG from Bm86-vaccinated cattle produced a potent anti-tick effect in vitro (83% efficacy) similar to that observed in vivo. Alternatively, feeding of dsRNA targeting Bm86 did not demonstrate anti-tick effects (11% efficacy) compared with the potent effects of ubiquitin dsRNA. This study optimises R. microplus tick in vitro feeding methods which support the development of cattle tick vaccines and treatments.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Comparative Genomics
Publisher: Elsevier GmbH
Copyright: © 2014 Elsevier GmbH
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