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Characterization of a glycine-rich protein from Rhipicephalus microplus: tissue expression, gene silencing and immune recognition

  • B. F. Leal (a1), M. F. Alzugaray (a2) (a3), A. Seixas (a4), I. Da Silva Vaz (a2) and C. A. S. Ferreira (a1)...


Salivary molecules, as glycine-rich proteins (GRPs), are essential to tick attachment and feeding on the host and are suggested to be involved in the host's immune system evasion, therefore representing natural candidates in the search for protective vaccine antigens. This work shows the molecular characterization of a GRP from Rhipicephalus microplus (RmGRP). The cDNA and putative amino acid sequences were analysed, as well as the transcription level in tick tissues/developmental stages, showing the highest levels of gene expression in 1-day-old larvae and salivary glands of fully engorged females. RmGRP gene silencing resulted in a lower hatching rate of larvae from treated females. In addition, recombinant RmGRP (rRmGRP) was recognized by sera from naturally and experimentally infested bovines, displaying considerable differences among the individuals tested. rRmGRP was recognized by anti-saliva and anti-salivary glands sera, while anti-rRmGRP serum recognized RmGRP in saliva and salivary glands, indicating its secretion into the host. The data collected indicate that RmGRP may present roles other than in the tick–host relationship, especially in embryo development. In addition, the high expression in adult females, antigenicity and presence of shared characteristics with other tick protective GRPs turns RmGRP a potential candidate to compose an anti-tick vaccine cocktail.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: C. A. S. Ferreira, E-mail:


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