Date of Award

Summer 7-10-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Biological Science (MBioSci)



First Advisor

Dr. Anuradha Ghosh

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew George

Third Advisor

Dr. Hermann Nonnenmacher

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Barbara McClaskey


Ticks transmit a wide variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and helminthes to vertebrates. Their life cycle depends on blood meals from various hosts as well as on environmental conditions such as the temperature and habitat type. A newly recognized allergic disease has been identified and is characterized by a delayed reaction following the consumption of some mammalian meats. The allergy often results in life threatening reactions such as anaphylaxis, hives, and breathing problems 3-6 hours after the consumption of mammalian meat. Not everyone develops the allergy when they are bitten by a lone star tick, and the cause of the reaction is yet to be known. The goal of the present study was to assess the differential gene expression of target genes in two different species of Lonestar ticks. Ticks were collected during May-September in 2019 from various locations in southeast and northeast Kansas using the flag-drag method. Adults and nymphs were sexed and identified using taxonomic key, and for a subset the identity was confirmed by PCR. Further study focused on Amblyomma americanum and A. maculatum. RNA was extracted from midgut and salivary gland content using Trizol® based technique. The cDNA was prepared and samples were tested by qPCR using selected primer sets for alpha-gal synthesis gene families, vasodilation/vasoconstriction genes, innate immune response genes, and blood coagulation genes. The data obtained in this study would help in understanding the relative gene expression among males and females of two different species of Amblyomma and how this difference could account for the development of alpha-gal allergy after tick bites.



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