Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Medical and Veterinary Entomology








The transcript sequence of the Amblyomma americanum Linnaeus (Acari: Ixodidae) defensin, termed amercin (amn), was ascertained and a 219-bp amn coding region identified. The gene encodes a 72-amino acid prepropeptide with a putative 37-amino acid mature peptide. This gene shows little similarity to either of the defensins from Amblyomma hebraeum Koch, the only other Amblyomma species for which a defensin has been described. Sequence comparisons with other tick defensins reveal amn to be shorter (6 bp or 2 amino acids) than the Ixodes scapularis Linnaeus (Acari: Ixodidae) and Dermacentor variabilis (Say) (Acari: Ixodidae) defensin sequences. The amercin prepropeptide has 60.8% and 59.5% similarity with the I. scapularis and D. variabilis prepropeptides, respectively, whereas the mature amercin peptide has 73.7% and 71.1% similarity with the mature peptides of these ticks. Similarity with other tick defensins ranges from 42% to 71%. In A. americanum, defensin transcript was found in the midgut, fat body and salivary gland tissues, as well as in the haemocytes. Defensin transcript was also present in early-stage eggs (less than 48 h old), late-stage eggs (approximately 2 weeks old), larvae and nymphs of A. americanum and I. scapularis, both of which are vector-competent for Borrelia spirochetes.


NOTE: This is the author’s final (post-print) version of a work that was published in Journal of Computing in Higher Education. The final version was published as:

Todd, S.M., Sonenshine, D., & Hynes, W.L. (2007). Tissue and life-stage distribution of a defensin gene in the lone star tick, amblyomma americanum. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 21(2), 141-147. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.2007.00682.x

Available at: