Antibacterial peptide defensin is involved in midgut immunity of the soft tick, Ornithodoros moubata.Insect Mol Biol. 2002 Dec; 11(6):611-8.IM
Two defensin genes A and B were previously demonstrated to be up-regulated by blood feeding in the soft tick, Ornithodoros moubata [Nakajima et al. (2001) Two isoforms of a member of the arthropod defensin family from the soft tick, Ornithodoros moubata (Acari: Argasidae). Insect Biochem Mol Biol 31: 747-751]. In this study, two defensin isoforms C and D similar to defensins A and B were newly cloned. A total of four defensins have been identified in O. moubata. All four Ornithodoros defensins are coded as prepro-defensins. Ornithodoros defensin genes consist of four exons and three introns, an organization reported in mussel defensins but not insect defensins. Ornithodoros defensin C and D genes are predominantly expressed in the midgut and up-regulated in response to blood feeding. The mature peptide of the previously cloned Ornithodoros defensin A was purified from the midgut lumen, indicating defensin is secreted into the midgut. These findings confirm the involvement of Ornithodoros defensin in midgut immunity.