Identification of proteins expressed by Babesia bigemina kinetes

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Background: Babesia bigemina is an apicomplexan parasite transovarially transmitted via Rhipicephalus ticks that infect red blood cells and causes bovine babesiosis, a poorly controlled severe acute disease in cattle. New methods of control are urgently needed, including the development of transmission blocking vaccines (TBV). Babesia bigemina reproduces sexually in the gut of adult female R. microplus upon acquisition following a blood meal. Sexual reproduction results in zygotes that infect gut epithelial cells to transform into kinete stage parasites, which invade tick ovaries and infects the egg mass. The subsequent tick generation transmits B. bigemina upon feeding on bovine hosts. An important limitation for developing novel TBV is that the pattern of protein expression in B. bigemina tick stages, such as the kinete stage, remain essentially uncharacterized. Results: We determined the protein expression profile of three B. bigemina putative tick stage candidates BbiKSP (BBBOND-0206730), CCp2 and CCp3. We found that BbiKSP expression was restricted to B. bigemina kinetes. CCp2 and CCp3, previously shown to be expressed by induced sexual stages, were also expressed by kinetes. Importantly, none of these proteins were expressed by B. bigemina blood stages. Conclusions: Babesia bigemina kinetes express BbiKSP, CCp2 and CCp3 proteins, therefore, these proteins may play important roles during B. bigemina development within tick hemolymph and may serve as potential candidate targets for the development of TBV.




Bohaliga, G. A. R., Johnson, W. C., Taus, N. S., Hussein, H. E., Bastos, R. G., Suarez, C. E., … Ueti, M. W. (2019). Identification of proteins expressed by Babesia bigemina kinetes. Parasites and Vectors, 12(1).

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