Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Tick Saliva

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Tick Saliva

Article excerpt

A protein found in tick saliva helps protect mice from developing Lyme disease, Yale University researchers have discovered. The findings, published in Cell Host & Microbe, may spur development of a new vaccine for Lyme disease, which is spread through tick bites. Traditionally, vaccines have directly targeted specific pathogens. This is the first time that antibodies against a protein in the saliva of a pathogen's transmitting agent (in this case, the tick) has been shown to confer immunity when administered protectively as a vaccine.

The Lyme bacterium, known as Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted by ticks. When it moves through the tick, it is coated with a tick salivary protein known as Salp15. The Yale team injected Salp15 into healthy mice and found that it significantly protected them from getting Lyme disease. When combined with outer surface proteins of B. burgdorferi, the protection was even greater.

Lead author Erol Fikrig, of Yale School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, says, "The interaction between the Lyme disease agent and ticks is very complex, and the bacteria uses a tick salivary protein to facilitate infection of the mammalian host. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.