Cutting edge: Immunity against a "silent" salivary antigen of the lyme vector Ixodes scapularis impairs its ability to feed

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Ixodes scapularis ticks transmit the Lyme disease agent in the United States. Although strong antitick immunity mediates tick rejection by certain vertebrates, only a few Ags have been molecularly characterized. We show that guinea pig vaccination against a secreted tick salivary immunomodulator, sialostatin L2, can lead to decreased feeding ability of I. scapularis nymphs. Increased rejection rate, prolonged feeding time, and apparent signs of inflammation were observed for nymphs attached to vaccinated animals, indicating a protective host immune response. Interestingly, sialostatin L2 humoral recognition does not take place upon repeated tick exposure in control animals, but only in the vaccinated animals that neutralize sialostatin L2 action. Therefore, we demonstrate an essential sialostatin L2 role upon nymphal infestation that can be blocked by vertebrate immunity and propose the discovery of similarly "silent" Ags toward the development of a multicomponent vaccine that will protect against tick bites and the pathogens they transmit.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Immunology