Neural signalling in tick salivary glands

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Image author: Ladislav Šimo, left panel - schema of acini II and III is adopted from Šimo et al., 2011, Right panel is from Vancová et al., 2019.

What you need to know: The relationships between tick species and the pathogens they transmit are complex, as pathogens depend upon the tick’s saliva for their transmission into the host. Specific aims of this project are to explore the relationship between the tick’s central nervous system (synganglion) and salivary glands. In our previous studies we found that tick salivary gland is a highly innervated tissue and multiple axons expressing signaling molecules or/and their receptors reach the individual salivary gland acini. These completely new discoveries made in our preliminary studies relating to tick salivary gland regulation raised several important questions, such as: How do ticks control their salivary glands? When do they secrete saliva? What are the main impulses triggering salivary secretions? What tissues and molecules are involved in these processes? And most importantly: how can the signaling pathways be manipulated to create better control strategies for these important disease vectors? 

Où on va? We are enthusiastic to determine the answers to these specific questions, and creating new knowledge in this fascinating area will ultimately lead to the development of powerful control measures for these important vectors. We believe that our exploratory study will have a strong impact on the entire tick research community, by providing tools that disrupt ectoparasitic lifecycles of multiple tick species around the world, rather than creating individual solutions for each specific pathogen.