Leucine aminopeptidase, HlLAP, from the ixodid tick Haemaphysalis longicornis, plays vital roles in the development of oocytes

Parasitol Int. 2010 Jun;59(2):286-9. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2010.03.001. Epub 2010 Mar 15.


Female ixodid ticks are amazing invertebrate animals which efficiently convert a large amount of nutrients derived from their ingested blood meals into eggs. Although oocyte development (vitellogenesis) in ticks is triggered by a blood meal and is assumed to be supported by nutrition derived from ovarian cells connecting oocytes, little is known about the ovarian molecules processing nutrient materials for the vitellogenesis. In this study, we have suggested a putative function of leucine aminopeptidase (HlLAP) in the ovary of parthenogenetic adult ixodid tick Haemaphysalis longicornis regarding a negative output of reproduction following disruption of HlLAP gene by RNA interference. Endogenous HlLAP was shown to be localized in the ovarian cells, including ovarian epithelial and pedicel cells which were assumed to provide nutrients for the developing oocytes. Histological studies demonstrated that a majority of immature oocytes in HlLAP gene knockdown ticks were transformed into abnormal morpho-histological oocytes with vacuolated cytoplasm and/or condensed nucleus. Taken together, a reduction of the numbers of laid eggs in the HlLAP gene knockdown ticks may be due to the degeneration of immature oocytes following deprivation of nutrients such as amino acids supplied not only by midgut HlLAP but also by the ovarian HlLAP. Regulation of the tick molecules involved in nutrient metabolism for the reproduction, including blood digestion and vitellogenesis, would help in controlling the tick population and tick-borne pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Ixodidae / enzymology*
  • Ixodidae / growth & development
  • Ixodidae / physiology
  • Leucyl Aminopeptidase / genetics
  • Leucyl Aminopeptidase / metabolism*
  • Oocytes / growth & development*
  • Ovary / cytology*
  • Ovary / enzymology
  • RNA Interference
  • Vitellogenesis / physiology


  • Leucyl Aminopeptidase