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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Research Project #443956

Research Project: Elucidating Tick-fungal Entomopathogen Interactions for Improved Tick Control

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Project Number: 5010-22410-022-004-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Sep 1, 2026

Microbe-tick interactions have profound effects on tick longevity and their susceptibility to acaricides. Among microbes, some are mutualistic while others are pathogenic to the arthropod host. Discerning these types of interactions will allow us to select microbes with properties to suppress tick populations. Here, we will work with the Cooperator to explore these interactions within important tick species such as the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and the cattle tick (Rhipicephalus microplus).

To understand the effect of specific microbes on the health status and infection outcomes, the Cooperator will conduct infection bioassays with diverse entomopathogenic fungi. The ticks used in this system will then be anesthetized on ice and their RNA and DNA extracted to evaluate gene expression of a range of immune genes. Scientists at ARS are experts in insect pathology and microbial control and will work with the Cooperator on these objectives by assessing infection outcomes and quantifying immune function in these diverse tick species.