Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Entomologists Work Toward Mitigating the Spread of Lyme Disease by ...

15.12.2008
... Unlocking Mechanisms Controlling the Black-legged Tick's Salivary Glands

In research that could mitigate the spread of Lyme disease, Kansas State University entomologists are looking for answers in tick saliva.

Yoonseong Park, associate professor of entomology at K-State, is working with Ladislav Simo, a research associate, to understand what controls the salivary gland system in black-legged ticks.

"My research program has focused on how the tick's neurological system is connected to the salivary system," Park said. "We have identified neuropeptides involved in controlling salivary gland activity."

Working in collaboration with K-State's Functional Genomics Consortium, Park and Simo have used the group's MALDI-TOF machine. Park said it is one of the most modern protein analysis machines available, and with it they have identified a number of neuropeptides for the first time. Understanding these neuropepties could help mitigate the spread of Lyme disease, Park said.

Also called deer ticks, black-legged ticks spread Lyme disease. Park said it affects between 250,000 and 350,000 people in the United States each year and also is a big problem in Europe. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are transmitted through the tick's saliva when it is feeding on a host.

A tick's meal lasts about a week, Park said. During that time, neuropeptides control the salivary gland to keep the feeding process going. That means secreting anticoagulants to make the host's blood drinkable and secreting anti-immunoglobulins that inhibit the host's ability to resist the tick. Park said that the tick's salivary system is continually adjusting these secretions as needed.

The salivary system also plays a role in helping the tick survive when a host isn't available. Park said the tick uses its salivary gland to control the suction of water out of the atmosphere.

"Eventually, our study can be a tool for disrupting the disease transmission," Park said. "We might be able to inhibit the tick's salivary secretion mechanism."

He said that his research with Simo also will help scientists who are trying to understand such mechanisms in other tick species, like the species that spreads Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Park said that his lab at K-State is one of few labs in the country studying the neuropeptides' role in the salivary system. Their research will be published in an upcoming issue of Cell and Tissue Research.

Park and Simo also are collaborating with Purdue University researchers who are sequencing the black-legged tick's genome. Park said that they have identified the genes responsible for encoding the neuropeptides.

Their research is being done with support from K-State's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the center provides resources to junior basic researchers and clinician-scientists at K-State and across Kansas.

Park's previous research through the center involved investigating the excretion processes in Anopheles gambaie, the mosquito that spreads malaria.

Erinn Barcomb-Peterson | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Stiffness matters
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>