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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Insect Mol Biol 2014 Aug;23(4):457-65

Defending the fort: a role for defensin-2 in limiting Rickettsia montanensis infection of Dermacentor variabilis.

Pelc RS, McClure JC, Sears KT, Chung A, Rahman MS, Ceraul SM


The importance of tick defensins is evidenced by their expression in a wide variety of tick tissues and prevalence across many tick genera. To date, the functional and biological significance of defensin-2 as a rickettsiastatic or rickettsiacidal antimicrobial peptide has not been addressed. In a previous study, defensin-2 transcription was shown to increase in Dermacentor variabilis ticks challenged with Rickettsia montanensis. In the present study, the hypothesis that defensin-2 is functional as a rickettsiastatic and/or rickettsiacidal antimicrobial peptide is tested. We show that defensin-2 plays a role in reducing burden after acquisition of Rickettsia montanensis through capillary feeding. Moreover, defensin-2 is shown to associate with R. montanensis in vitro and in vivo, causing cytoplasmic leakiness.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #24779891 DOI: 10.1111/imb.12094
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2014-08-18