Ticks from diverse genera encode chemokine-inhibitory evasin proteins

Jenni Hayward, Julie Sanchez, Andrew Perry, Cheng Huang, Manuel Rodriguez Valle, Meritxell Canals, Richard J. Payne, Martin J. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


To prolong residence on their hosts, ticks secrete many salivary factors that target host defense molecules. In particular, the tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus has been shown to produce three salivary glycoproteins named “evasins,” which bind to host chemokines, thereby inhibiting the recruitment of leukocytes to the location of the tick bite. Using sequence similarity searches, we have identified 257 new putative evasin sequences encoded by the genomes or salivary or visceral transcriptomes of numerous hard ticks, spanning the genera Rhipicephalus, Amblyomma, and Ixodes of the Ixodidae family. Nine representative sequences were successfully expressed in Escherichia coli, and eight of the nine candidates exhibited high-affinity binding to human chemokines. Sequence alignments enabled classification of the evasins into two subfamilies: C8 evasins share a conserved set of eight Cys residues (four disulfide bonds), whereas C6 evasins have only three of these disulfide bonds. Most of the identified sequences contain predicted secretion leader sequences, N-linked glycosylation sites, and a putative site of tyrosine sulfation. We conclude that chemokine-binding evasin proteins are widely expressed among tick species of the Ixodidae family, are likely to play important roles in subverting host defenses, and constitute a valuable pool of anti-inflammatory proteins for potential future therapeutic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15670-15680
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2017

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