The three research projects under Tick Immunity are supported by a Tick Resources Core providing reagents and instructions. These projects capitalize on the recent findings and emerging concepts that tick immune responses can involve unique pathways, and that interaction between microbiota and invading pathogens shape gut physiology and immunity, ultimately impacting the ability of ticks to acquire and maintain pathogens. The Tick Resources Core will not only provide existing tick-vector tools such as cell lines and the ticks themselves to support the three research projects, but will also develop new cell lines specific to immune and genetic pathway analysis for this work. The Core is also charged with sharing any resulting tools and materials from this research with the scientific community via BEI Resources to farther advance the field, and submitting genomic data to the VectorBase. The Tick Resources Core Director is Dr. Ulrike Munderloh at the University of Minnesota.

Specific Aims

Aim 1: Provide currently available tick-vector-based tools to support the research projects for a) in vitro analysis using our large collection of Ixodes scapularis cell lines, and for b) in vivo investigation by generating specific pathogen-free larval, nymphal and adult Ixodes scapularis ticks using our membrane-feeder.

Aim 2: Develop tick cell lines suitable for analysis of immune genes and pathways that are activated in response to pathogen challenge (Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi) or exposure to symbionts and selected microbiota.