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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368368

Research Project: Cattle Fever Tick Control and Eradication

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Title: Humoral immune response of pigs, Sus scrofa domesticus upon repeated exposure to blood-feeding by Ornithodoros turicata Duges (Ixodida: Argasidae)

item KIM, HEE - Texas A&M University
item KRISHNAVAJHALA, APARNA - Baylor College Of Medicine
item ARMSTRONG, BRITTANY - Baylor College Of Medicine
item Perez De Leon, Adalberto - Beto
item FILATOV, SERHII - Non ARS Employee
item TEELE, PETE - Texas A&M University
item LOPEZ, JOB - Baylor College Of Medicine

Submitted to: Parasites & Vectors
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/23/2019
Publication Date: 2/12/2019
Citation: Kim, H.J., Krishnavajhala, A., Armstrong, B.A., Perez De Leon, A.A., Filatov, S., Teele, P.D., Lopez, J.E. 2019. Humoral immune response of pigs, Sus scrofa domesticus upon repeated exposure to blood-feeding by Ornithodoros turicata Duges (Ixodida: Argasidae). Parasites & Vectors. 13:66.

Interpretive Summary: Ornithodoros turicata is the scientific name of a soft tick found in the southwestern United States (U.S.), Mexico, and Florida. While it is recognized as a vector of human relapsing fever, laboratory studies demonstrated that O. turicata could also be a vector for African swine fever virus (ASFV). The abundance of pigs and warthogs, which live in the same region as O. turicata in Texas, provides a potential pathway for the emergence of ASFV in the U.S. This study describes a successful animal model to study molecular interactions between Ornithodoros ticks and pigs that could aid in further development of methods to study soft tick ecology, as well as in establishing early detection and prevention of ASF entry into the US through the tick vector/wildlife/domestic animal interface. This study is the first to report serological responses of pigs to blood feeding by O. turicata. Future protein analysis will identify the tick salivary antigens recognized by the vertebrate immune response. This will be an important step towards the development of a specific immunoassay, which could be used for surveillance of domestic and wild pig exposure to blood feeding by O. turicata.

Technical Abstract: Ornithodoros turicata is an important vector of both human and veterinary pathogens. One primary concern is the global spread of African swine fever virus and the risk of its re-emergence in the Americas through potential transmission by O. turicata to domestic pigs and feral swine. Moreover, in Texas, African warthogs were introduced into the state for hunting purposes and evidence exists that they are reproducing and have spread to three counties in the state. Consequently, it is imperative to develop strategies to evaluate exposure of feral pigs and African warthogs to O. turicata. We report the development of an animal model to evaluate serological responses of pigs to O. turicata salivary proteins after three exposures to tick feeding. Serological responses were assessed for ~120 days by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblotting using salivary gland extracts from O. turicata. Our findings indicate that domestic pigs seroconverted to O. turicata salivary antigens that is foundational toward the development of a diagnostic assay to improve soft tick surveillance efforts.