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Caractérisation de IrSPI, un inhibiteur de sérine protéase impliqué dans la prise du repas sanguin et l’infection bactérienne des tiques Ixodes ricinus.

Abstract : Ixodes ricinus tick species, the most abundant and widespread tick in Europe, is an important vector of pathogens affecting both animal and human health. To replace the use of acaricides that generate environmental contamination and resistances, new environmentally sustainable approaches providing broad protection against ticks and tick-borne pathogens (TBP) are urgently needed. Such development requires improved understanding of the biology of ticks and more particularly of their interactions with vertebrate hosts and TBP. Tick saliva is an essential biofluid for ticks, as its proteolytic, anticoagulant, immunomodulatory, analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities allow ticks to acquire their blood meal under optimal conditions. Moreover, injection of saliva during blood feeding represents the principal route by which TBP are transmitted to the host. To understand the molecular mechanisms involved in TBP transmission, as well as to identify putative vaccine candidates against I. ricinus, salivary glands from bacteria infected and uninfected ticks were previously compared by high throughput transcriptomics. The most up-regulated transcript following infection was IrSPI, which belongs to the Kunitz/BPTI inhibitor family. Functional analyses via RNAi knockdown experiments revealed that IrSPI enhances both blood feeding and bacterial burden in the salivary glands. This present PhD work concerns then the structural, biochemical and functional characterization of IrSPI as a molecule involved in tick-host-pathogen interactions. Our aim was first to define the structure of IrSPI gene but, unfortunately, while our results have led to progress on this issue, we have not been able to get the full sequence. Then, the dynamic of IrSPI expression was evaluated during both tick feeding and colonization of ticks by pathogens, showing that its expression is induced by blood feeding and TBP but not by Escherichia coli that is not transmitted by I. ricinus. In addition, our results shown the expression of IrSPI in several tick organs, suggesting its implication in several functions in tick physiology. Among them, the discovery of the injection of IrSPI, through the saliva, to the vertebrate host allowed us to consider a role in host responses to tick bite. Evaluation of IrSPI effect on host showed no impact on coagulation through extrinsic pathway, as determined by analysis of thrombin generation time and by fibrinolysis, or in angiogenesis. However, it inhibited the proliferation of mitogen-stimulated CD4+ lymphocytes and increased unstimulated-B cell proliferation. In addition, IrSPI also modulated cytokine production from macrophages and splenocytes, repressing significantly most of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Thus, we demonstrated that IrSPI plays a role in modulating the host immune response during blood feeding. Finally, preliminary results in the identification of the protein’s interactants open many research perspectives for understanding how IrSPI acts in tick physiology and counteracts host responses to tick injury and pathogen transmission.
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Adrien Blisnick. Caractérisation de IrSPI, un inhibiteur de sérine protéase impliqué dans la prise du repas sanguin et l’infection bactérienne des tiques Ixodes ricinus.. Médecine vétérinaire et santé animale. Institut agronomique, vétérinaire et forestier de France, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019IAVF0005⟩. ⟨tel-02367678⟩

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