Neuropeptide signaling sequences identified by pyrosequencing of the American dog tick synganglion transcriptome during blood feeding and reproduction

Kevin V. Donohue, Sayed M S Khalil, E. Ross, Christina M. Grozinger, Daniel E. Sonenshine, R. Michael Roe

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32 Scopus citations


Ticks are important vectors of numerous pathogens that impact human and animal health. The tick central nervous system represents an understudied area in tick biology and no tick synganglion-specific transcriptome has been described to date. Here we characterize whole or partial cDNA sequences of fourteen putative neuropeptides (allatostatin, insulin-like peptide, ion-transport peptide, sulfakinin, bursicon alpha/beta, eclosion hormone, glycoprotein hormone alpha/beta, corazonin, four orcokinins) and five neuropeptide receptors (gonadotropin receptor, leucokinin-like receptor, sulfakinin receptor, calcitonin receptor, pyrokinin receptor) translated from cDNA synthesized from the synganglion of unfed, partially fed and replete female American dog ticks, Dermacentor variabilis. Their homology to the same neuropeptides in other taxa is discussed. Many of these neuropeptides such as an allatostatin, insulin-like peptide, eclosion hormone, bursicon alpha and beta and glycoprotein hormone alpha and beta have not been previously described in the Chelicerata. An insulin-receptor substrate protein was also found indicating that an insulin signaling network is present in ticks. A putative type-2 proprotein processing convertase was also sequenced that may be involved in cleavage at monobasic and dibasic endoproteolytic cleavage sites in prohormones. The possible physiological role of the proteins discovered in adult tick blood feeding and reproduction will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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