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Tick holocyclotoxins trigger host paralysis by presynaptic inhibition

Chand, K.K., Lee, K.M., Lavidis, N.A., Rodriguez-Valle, M., Ijaz, H., Koehbach, J., Clark, R.J., Lew-Tabor, A. and Noakes, P.G. (2016) Tick holocyclotoxins trigger host paralysis by presynaptic inhibition. Scientific Reports, 6 .

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Ticks are important vectors of pathogens and secreted neurotoxins with approximately 69 out of 692 tick species having the ability to induce severe toxicoses in their hosts. The Australian paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) is known to be one of the most virulent tick species producing a flaccid paralysis and fatalities caused by a family of neurotoxins known as holocyclotoxins (HTs). The paralysis mechanism of these toxins is temperature dependent and is thought to involve inhibition of acetylcholine levels at the neuromuscular junction. However, the target and mechanism of this inhibition remain uncharacterised. Here, we report that three members of the holocyclotoxin family; HT-1 (GenBank AY766147), HT-3 (GenBank KP096303) and HT-12 (GenBank KP963967) induce muscle paralysis by inhibiting the dependence of transmitter release on extracellular calcium. Previous study was conducted using extracts from tick salivary glands, while the present study is the first to use pure toxins from I. holocyclus. Our findings provide greater insight into the mechanisms by which these toxins act to induce paralysis.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Comparative Genomics
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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