Background: Subolesin is an evolutionary conserved protein that was discovered recently in Ixodes scapularis as a tick protective antigen and has a role in tick blood digestion, reproduction and development. In other organisms, subolesin orthologs may be involved in the control of developmental processes. Because of the profound effect of subolesin knockdown in ticks and other organisms, we hypothesized that subolesin plays a role in gene expression, and therefore affects multiple cellular processes. The objective of this study was to provide evidence for the role of subolesin in gene expression.
Results: Two subolesin-interacting proteins were identified and characterized by yeast two-hybrid screen, co-affinity purification and RNA interference (RNAi). The effect of subolesin knockdown on the tick gene expression pattern was characterized by microarray analysis and demonstrated that subolesin RNAi affects the expression of genes involved in multiple cellular pathways. The analysis of subolesin and interacting protein sequences identified regulatory motifs and predicted the presence of conserved protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation sites.
Conclusion: Collectively, these results provide evidence that subolesin plays a role in gene expression in ticks.