Molecular Characterization of Tick Galectin in Context of α-Gal Syndrome

Sumar Beauti, Ahmed Mohamed, Surendra Raj Sharma, and Dr. Shahid Karim Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Dr. Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Food allergies affect an estimated 32 million Americans. Red Meat Allergy, also known as Alpha-Gal Syndrome (AGS), is an emerging food allergy caused by the bite of the Lone Star Tick, Amblyomma americanum, predominantly found in the southeast U.S. region. The Red Meat Allergy is characterized as a delayed hypersensitivity reaction that occurs 3-6 hours after red meat consumption. It is induced by the oligosaccharide galactose-α-1,3-galactose (α-gal) found in the Lone Star tick and all mammalian-derived foods. α-gal specific IgE (sIgE) antibodies are produced after α-gal transmission from the tick bite and activated after subsequent red meat consumption. Symptoms of Red Meat Allergy include sneezing, hives, coughing, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis. Previously in our lab, an immune-affinity approach utilized α-Gal antibody to isolate and identify covalently linked tick saliva antigens to α-gal followed by Liquid Chromatography-tandem Mass Spectrometry (LS-MS/MS) analysis. The identified antigen included tick salivary Galectin, a carbohydrate-binding protein that is involved in many physiological functions, such as inflammation and immune responses. In this study, we will test the hypothesis that α-Gal binds to Galectin and is secreted as saliva antigen to induce AGS. Our qRT-PCR results revealed differential gene expression of Galectin in different stages of the bloodmeal. We utilized an RNA interference (RNAi) approach to silence Galectin gene expression and assessed the functional consequences of gene depletion on tick behavior, phenotype (attachment rate, feeding duration, engorgement rate), and tick molting. The results of Galectin gene silencing will be discussed in the context of α-gal prevalence in tick saliva.  

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Sumar Beauti

Institution: University of Southern Mississippi

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 3
Date/Time: Mon 4:30pm-5:30pm
Session Number: 3048