A cDNA expression library from the salivary glands of hard tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, was constructed. Immuno-screening was performed using sera of the rabbit repeatedly infested with ticks and seventeen positive clones were obtained. A BLASTP search suggested that 8 sequences matched with that of hypothetical H. longicornis sequence and one clone encoded HL35 antigen U from the same tick species. Eight of 17 gave no match to any sequence reported in the database. The proteins expected from these novel sequences possess common characteristics with cement proteins which assist ticks in their attachment to the host during blood feeding. The expression of these genes in salivary glands was confirmed by RT-PCR. Four of the 8 sequences showed to be upregulated upon blood feeding. These immunodominant antigens are of particular interest as candidates for future cement protein based-tick vaccine.
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