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Ment D.,Association for Research in Otolaryngology ARO | Ment D.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Gindin G.,Association for Research in Otolaryngology ARO | Rot A.,Kimron Veterinary Institute | And 5 more authors.
Biocontrol Science and Technology | Year: 2013

The arthropod cuticle acts as a physiochemical barrier protecting the organism from pathogens' entry. Entomopathogenic fungi actively penetrate the cuticles of arthropod hosts and are therefore directly affected by cuticle composition. Previously we have observed that Metarhizium spp. developing on resistant ticks ultimately die without penetrating tick's cuticle, suggesting that the cuticles of resistant ticks have antifungal compounds. In the present study, lipids and water-soluble cuticular components were extracted from engorged female tick cuticles, of one susceptible and one resistant tick species to Metarhizium spp. While conidia exposed to lipids from the susceptible tick, Rhipicephalus annulatus, germinated and differentiated into appressorium, conidia exposed to lipids from the resistant tick, Hyalomma excavatum, were inhibited. Soluble cuticular component extracts from both susceptible and resistant ticks stimulated conidial germination but not appressorium differentiation. A comparative analysis of the fatty acid profile in lipid extract of each tick exhibited similar compositions, but the relative abundance of C16:0, C18:0, C18:1ω9C and C20:0 was 2-5 times higher in the extracts from resistant ticks. All of these fatty acids inhibited conidial germination in vitro at 1% and 0.1% w/v concentration, but C20:0 stimulated appressorium differentiation at low concentration. This is the first report demonstrating a possible link between the presence of antifungal compounds in a specific concentration in tick cuticle and tick resistance to infection. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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