Ticks are obligate haematophagous ectoparasites considered the principal vectors of disease among animals. Rhipicephalus microplus and R. annulatus ticks are the most important vectors for Babesia bigemina and B. bovis, two of the most important intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites species in cattle, responsible for babesiosis which together with anaplasmosis account for substantial economic losses in the livestock industry worldwide. Anti-tick vaccines are a proved alternative to traditional tick and tick borne diseases control methods but are still limited primarily due to the lack of effective antigens. Subsequently to the identification of antigens the validation is a laborious work often expensive. Tick artificial feeding, is a low cost alternative to test antigens allowing achieving critical data. Herein, R. microplus females were successfully artificially fed using capillary tubes. Calreticulin (CRT) protein, which in a previous study has been identified as being involved in B. bigemina infection in R. annulatus ticks, was expressed as recombinant protein (rCRT) in an E. coli expression system and antibodies raised against rCRT. Anti-rCRT serum was supplemented to a blood meal, offered to partially engorged R. microplus females and their effect in feeding process as well as infection by B. bigemina was analyzed. No significant reductions in tick and egg weight were observed when ticks fed with anti-rCRT serum. Furthermore, B. bigemina infection levels did not show a statistically significant decrease when ticks fed with anti-rCRT antibodies. Results suggest that CRT is not a suitable candidate for cattle vaccination trials.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being