Ixodes ricinus L. is the principal European vector of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis. Subtractive hybridization was used to isolate tick genes that were induced in whole ticks after blood meals on uninfected and B. burgdorferi-infected guinea pigs. Novel cDNA clones with similarity to cytochrome c oxidase, salivary secreted protein, actin, and a cysteine protease propeptide were induced after a blood meal. Novel cDNA clones with similarity to thioredoxin peroxidases, dolichyl-phosphate β-glucosyltransferase, glutathione S-transferase, defensin, ML domain-containing protein, and von Willebrand factor were induced after B. burgdorferi infection. Virtual Northern analysis was used to verify that these genes were differentially expressed in ticks after a pathogen-infected blood meal and to detect their tissues of expression. The characterization of genes that are induced after an infected blood meal is essential for gaining an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie vector-pathogen interactions.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1