Insect Molecular Biology
Alpha catenin is a cytoskeleton protein that acts as a regulator of actin rearrangement by forming an E-cadherin adhesion complex. In Dermacentor variabilis, a putative α-catenin (Dvα-catenin) was previously identified as differentially regulated in ovaries of ticks chronically infected with Rickettsia montanensis. To begin characterizing the role(s) of Dvα-catenin during rickettsial infection, the full-length Dvα-catenin cDNA was cloned and analysed. Comparative sequence analysis demonstrates a 3069-bp cDNA with a 2718-bp open reading frame with a sequence similar to Ixodes scapularis α-catenin. A portion of Dvα-catenin is homologous to the vinculin-conserved domain containing a putative actin-binding region and β-catenin-binding and -dimerization regions. Quantitative reverse-transcription PCR analysis demonstrated that Dvα-catenin is predominantly expressed in tick ovaries and is responsive to tick feeding. The tissue-specific gene expression analysis of ticks exposed to Rickettsia demonstrates that Dvα-catenin expression was significantly downregulated 12 h after exposure to R. montanensis, but not in Rickettsia amblyommii-exposed ovaries, compared with Rickettsia-unexposed ticks. Studying tick-derived molecules associated with rickettsial infection will provide a better understanding of the transmission dynamics of tick-borne rickettsial diseases.
Original Publication Citation
Sunyakumthorn, P., Petchampai, N., Kearney, M. T., Sonenshine, D. E., & Macaluso, K. R. (2012). Molecular characterization and tissue-specific gene expression of Dermacentor variabilis α-catenin in response to rickettsial infection. Insect Molecular Biology, 21(2), 197-204. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2583.2011.01126.x
Sunyakumthorn, Piyanate; Petchampai, Natthida; Kearney, Michael T.; Sonenshine, Daniel E.; and Macaluso, Kevin R., "Molecular Characterization and Tissue-Specific Gene Expression of Dermacentor variabilis α-catenin in Response to Rickettsial Infection" (2012). Biological Sciences Faculty Publications. 259.