Date of Original Version
Plant Sciences and Entomology
Background: Tick selenoproteins are involved in regulating oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress during prolonged tick feeding on mammalian hosts. How selenoproteins are activated upon tick-borne pathogen infection is yet to be defined.
Methods: To examine the functional role of selenoprotein K in Borrelia burgdorferi infection within the tick host Ixodes scapularis, RNA interference (RNAi)-based gene silencing was performed.
Results: Selenoprotein K is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident protein and a component of the ERAD complex involved in ER homeostasis. A qRT-PCR assay revealed the significant upregulation of selenogene K (selenoK) expression in B. burgdorferi-infected tick tissues. Silencing of the selenoK transcript significantly depleted B. burgdorferi copies within the infected tick tissues. Upon selenoK knockdown, another component of the ERAD complex, selenoprotein S (selenoS), was significantly upregulated, suggesting a compensatory mechanism to maintain ER homeostasis within the tick tissues. Knockdown of selenoK also upregulated ER stress-related unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway components, ATF6 and EIF2.
Conclusions: The exact mechanisms that contribute to depletion of B. burgdorferi upon selenoK knockdown is yet to be determined, but this study suggests that selenoK may play a vital role in the survival of B. burgdorferi within the tick host.
Kumar, D., Embers, M., Mather, T.N. et al. Is selenoprotein K required for Borrelia burgdorferi infection within the tick vector Ixodes scapularis?. Parasites Vectors 12, 289 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-019-3548-y
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-019-3548-y
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