Arthropod-borne protozoan pathogens have a complex life cycle that includes asexual reproduction of haploid stages in mammalian hosts and the development of diploid stages in invertebrate hosts. The ability of pathogens to invade, survive, and replicate within distinct cell types is required to maintain their life cycle. In this study, we describe a comparative proteomic analysis of a cattle pathogen, Babesia bovis, during its development within the mammalian and tick hosts with the goal of identifying cell-surface proteins expressed by B. bovis kinetes as potential targets for the development of a transmission blocking vaccine. To determine parasite tick-stage-specific cell-surface proteins, CyDye labeling was performed with B. bovis blood stages from the bovine host and kinetes from the tick vector. Cell-surface kinete-stage-specific proteins were identified using 2D difference in gel electrophoresis and analyzed by mass spectrometry. Ten proteins were identified as kinete-stage-specific, with orthologs found in closely related Apicomplexan pathogens. Transcriptional analysis revealed two genes were highly expressed by kinetes as compared with blood stages. Immunofluorescence using antibodies against the two proteins confirmed kinete-stage-specific expression. The identified cell-surface kinete proteins are potential candidates for the development of a B. bovis transmission blocking vaccine.
Keywords: Babesia bovis; bovine and Rhipicephalus ticks; kinete; stage-specific protein.