Tick-borne pathogens cause diseases that greatly impact animal health and production worldwide. The ultimate goal of tick vaccines is to protect against tick-borne diseases through the control of vector infestations and reducing pathogen infection and transmission. Tick genetic traits are involved in vector-pathogen interactions and some of these molecules such as Subolesin (SUB) have been shown to protect against vector infestations and pathogen infection. Based on these premises, herein we characterized the efficacy of cattle vaccination with tick proteins involved in vector-pathogen interactions, TROSPA, SILK, and Q38 for the control of cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus infestations and infection with Anaplasma marginale and Babesia bigemina. SUB and adjuvant/saline placebo were used as positive and negative controls, respectively. The results showed that vaccination with Q38, SILK and SUB reduced tick infestations and oviposition with vaccine efficacies of 75% (Q38), 62% (SILK) and 60% (SUB) with respect to ticks fed on placebo control cattle. Vaccination with TROSPA did not have a significant effect on any of the tick parameters analyzed. The results also showed that vaccination with Q38, TROSPA and SUB reduced B. bigemina DNA levels in ticks while vaccination with SILK and SUB resulted in lower A. marginale DNA levels when compared to ticks fed on placebo control cattle. The positive correlation between antigen-specific antibody titers and reduction of tick infestations and pathogen infection strongly suggested that the effect of the vaccine was the result of the antibody response in vaccinated cattle. Vaccination and co-infection with A. marginale and B. bigemina also affected the expression of genes encoding for vaccine antigens in ticks fed on cattle. These results showed that vaccines using tick proteins involved in vector-pathogen interactions could be used for the dual control of tick infestations and pathogen infection.
- Cattle tick
- RNA interference