The impact of RNA interference of the subolesin and voraxin genes in male Amblyomma hebraeum (Acari: Ixodidae) on female engorgement and oviposition

Exp Appl Acarol. 2009 Jan;47(1):71-86. doi: 10.1007/s10493-008-9195-1. Epub 2008 Oct 1.


Reducing or replacing the use of chemical pesticides for tick control is a desirable goal. The most promising approach would be to develop vaccines that protect hosts against tick infestation. Antigens suitable for the development of anti-tick vaccines will likely be those essential for vital physiological processes, and in particular those directly involved in feeding and reproduction. In this study genes from Amblyomma hebraeum Koch that encode for subolesin and voraxin were studied in male ticks by RNA interference (RNAi). Males (unfed or fed) were injected with dsRNA of (1) subolesin, (2) voraxin, (3) subolesin plus voraxin or (4) injection buffer, after which they were held off-host overnight and then allowed to feed on rabbits together with normal female A. hebraeum. Females that fed together with male ticks injected with subolesin or subolesin + voraxin dsRNA had a higher rate of mortality, weighed substantially less and produced a smaller egg mass than the controls. However, females feeding with males injected with voraxin dsRNA alone were not significantly different from the controls with respect to mortality, engorged weight or fecundity. However, as assessed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR, voraxin was not silenced in this study, the reasons for which remain unknown. The results of this study suggest that A. hebraeum subolesin is worthy of further testing as a candidate tick vaccine antigen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Female
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / physiology*
  • Ixodidae / genetics
  • Ixodidae / physiology*
  • Male
  • Oviposition
  • RNA Interference*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tick Infestations / prevention & control*


  • Insect Proteins