The transcription factor Relish controlsAnaplasma marginaleinfection in the bovine tickRhipicephalus microplus
Rhipicephalus microplus is an important biological vector of Anaplasma marginale, the etiological agent of bovine anaplasmosis. The knowledge of tick immune responses to control bacterial infections remains limited. In this study, we demonstrate that transcription factor Relish from the IMD signaling pathway has an important role in the control of A. marginale infection in ticks. We found that RNA-mediated silencing of Relish caused a significant increase in the number of A. marginale in the midgut and salivary glands of R. microplus. In addition, the IMD pathway regulates the expression of the gene that encodes the antimicrobial peptide (AMP) microplusin. Moreover, microplusin expression was up-regulated in the midgut (2×) and salivary glands (8×) of A. marginale infected R. microplus. Therefore, it is plausible to hypothesize that microplusin may be involved in the A. marginale control. This study provides the first evidence of IMD signaling pathway participation on the A. marginale control in R. microplus.