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Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology








The first full-length mRNA for vitellogenin (Vg) from ticks was sequenced. This also represents the first complete sequence of Vg from the Chelicerata and of a heme binding Vg. The Vg cDNA from the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis was 5744nt in length (GenBank Accession number AY885250), which coded for a protein of 1843aa with a calculated molecular weight of 208kD. This protein had an 18 aa signal sequence, a single RXXR cleavage signal that would generate two subunits (49.5 and 157K in molecular weight) and lipoprotein N-terminal and carboxy von Willebrand factor type D domains. Tryptic digest MS analysis of vitellin protein confirmed the function of the cDNA as the tick yolk protein. Apparently, vitellin in D. variabilis is oligomeric (possibly dimeric) and is comprised of a mixture of the uncleaved monomer and subunits that were predicted from the single RXXR cleavage signal. The highly conserved GL/ICG motif close to the C-terminus in insect Vg genes was different in the tick Vg message, i.e., GLCS. This variant was also present in a partial sequence of Vg from Boophilus microplus. Phylogenic analysis showed that the full length Vg cDNA from D. variabilis and the partial cDNA from B. microplus were distinct from insects and Crustacea. The Vg message was not found in whole body RNA from unfed or fed males or in unfed and partially fed (virgin) females as determined by Northern blotting. The message was found in replete (mated) pre-ovipositional females, increased to higher levels in ovipositing females and was absent after egg laying was complete. The endocrine regulation of the Vg mRNA is discussed. The tissue sources of the Vg message are both the gut and fat body. Tryptic digest MS fingerprinting suggests that a second Vg mRNA might be present in the American dog tick, which needs further study.


NOTE: This is the authors' edited pre-print version of a work that was published in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology The final version was published as:

Thompson, D.M., Khalil, S.M.S., Jeffers, L.A., Sonenshine, D.E., Mitchell, R.D., Osgood, C.J., & Roe, R.M. (2007). Sequence and the developmental and tissue-specific regulation of the first complete vitellogenin messenger RNA from ticks responsible for heme sequestration. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 37(4), 363-374. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2007.01.004

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