Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » Cattle Fever Tick Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380924

Research Project: Integrated Pest Management of Cattle Fever Ticks

Location: Cattle Fever Tick Research Unit

Title: Phylogenomics of tick inward rectifier potassium channels and their potential as targets to innovate control technologies

item Saelao, Perot
item Hickner, Paul
item Bendele, Kylie
item Perez De Leon, Adalberto - Beto

Submitted to: Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/8/2021
Publication Date: 3/19/2021
Citation: Saelao, P., Hickner, P.V., Bendele, K.G., Perez De Leon, A.A. 2021. Phylogenomics of tick inward rectifier potassium channels and their potential as targets to innovate control technologies. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 11.

Interpretive Summary: Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that transmit disease-causing pathogens to human and animal hosts. Tick-borne diseases are managed, in part, by controlling tick populations with acaracides, tick-specific pesticides. However, ticks are evolving resistance to traditionally used acaracides, and novel control methods are needed. This study reviewed research on a potential target for new acaracides, Inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels. Kir channels play an important role in homeostasis and are particularly important in renal and salivary gland function for blood-feeding arthropods. Extensive research has been conducted on Kir channels in mammals and insects, but few studies have focused on Kir channels in ticks. This study identified and characterized Kir channel genes in 20 tick species, thus providing valuable information for future efforts in identifying tick-specific Kir channel targets.

Technical Abstract: This study was conducted to enhance the identification of novel targets to develop acaricides that can be used to advance integrated tick-borne disease management. Drivers for the emergence and re-emergence of tick-borne diseases affecting humans, livestock, and other domestic animals in many parts of the world include the increased abundance and expanded geographic distribution of tick species that vector pathogens. The evolution of resistance to acaricides among some of the most important tick vector species highlights the vulnerability of relying on chemical treatments for tick control to mitigate the health burden of tick-borne diseases. The involvement of inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels in homeostasis, diuresis, and salivary gland secretion in ticks and other pests identified them as attractive targets to develop novel acaricides. However, few studies exist on the molecular characteristics of Kir channels in ticks. This bioinformatic analysis described Kir channels in 20 species of hard and soft ticks. Summarizing relevant investigations on Kir channel function in invertebrate pests allowed the phylogenomic study of this class of ion channels in ticks. How this information can be adapted to innovate tick control technologies is discussed.