A reassessment of argasid tick salivary gland ultrastructure from an immuno-cytochemical perspective


Previous morphological and histochemical studies of argasid tick salivary glands indicated that they were less complex than ixodid salivary glands, with only three granular cell types. The present study shows that there exist at least four different granular cell types in the salivary glands of the argasid tick Ornithodoros savignyi, based on immuno-localization of the anti-hemostatic factors, apyrase and savignygrin. Both anti-hemostatic factors were localized to dense core granule type 'a' and to granule type 'b', that shares a similar homogenous morphology with non-labeled granule type 'd'. Furthermore, the major tick salivary gland proteins (TSGPs), previously implicated in granule biogenesis, were localized to all the granular cell types. This indicates that granular cell types with different morphologies can express the same proteins, while cell types that show similar morphologies may not express the same proteins. Argasid tick salivary glands seem to be more complex than previously thought and might not be amenable to morphological classification alone. Alternative classification methodologies that rely on physical expression patterns of the salivary gland proteome might be more reliable as markers for a specific granular cell type.

Publication Title

Experimental and Applied Acarology