Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Female gluttony blamed on male tick

06.04.2004


A certain species of tick has learned the secret to staying slim--by remaining virgins. Female ticks who mate will drink 100 times their weight in host blood, whereas virgins aren’t so gluttonous says a University of Alberta researcher who has discovered a protein that may offer clues to a $10 billion global tick problem.



"What happens is that a female will remain attached to a host, eating slowly and waiting to be fertilized," said Dr. Reuben Kaufman from the U of A’s Faculty of Science. "If she does copulate, the seminal fluid contains an engorgement factor protein which acts as a signal to tell her to complete engorgement. Within 24 hours of copulation she will increase another 10 times her unfed weight."

Female ticks require six to 10 days to engorge fully. The feeding cycle consists of three phases: a preparatory phase when she attaches herself to the skin; a slow phase, during which the female feeds to 10 times her unfed weight and the third phase after copulation when the female increases her weight a further 10-fold. The virgin tick, however, rarely exceeds the critical weight necessary for laying some eggs.


Kaufman and Brian Weiss, who was a doctoral student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the time of this research, produced a protein--recAhEF-- from feeding-induced genes in the male gonad of the African cattle tick. This research is published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. By injecting that protein into virgin ticks they could stimulate the tick to grow to full engorgement. Armed with that knowledge, the researchers then immunized a rabbit against recAhEF and found that about 75 per cent failed to feed beyond the critical weight, whereas mated ticks feeding on a normal rabbit engorged fully.

"We want to use these proteins as a basis of a vaccine," said Kaufman. "If we can vaccinate cattle against this protein, or voraxin as we have called it, then they would be significantly protected against ticks. Not only would it control the tick problem--which is a $10 billion problem globally--but it would inhibit the disease ticks transfer as well.

"Ticks affect the growth of calves and they affect milk production, even with minor infestations."

Currently, the major control mechanism used to treat ticks is pesticides, which often come with ecological problems and may affect the meat, said Kaufman.


Kaufman’s research was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grant.

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
13.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

nachricht Algae Have Land Genes
13.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>