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Tick salivary gland extracts promote virus growth in vitro

  • V. HAJNICKÁ (a1), N. FUCHSBERGER (a2), M. SLOVÁK (a3), P. KOCAKOVA (a2), M. LABUDA (a3) and P. A. NUTTALL (a4)...


Saliva of blood-feeding arthropods promotes infection by the vector-borne pathogens they transmit. To investigate this phenomenon in vitro, cultures of mouse L cells were treated with a salivary gland extract (SGE) prepared from feeding ticks and then infected with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). At low input doses of VSV, viral yield was increased 100-fold to 10000-fold by 16–23 h post-infection compared with untreated cultures, and depending on the SGE concentration. SGE-mediated acceleration of viral yield corresponded with the earlier appearance of VSV nucleocapsid protein as detected by 2-dimensional electrophoresis of infected cells. The observation that physiological doses of virus (i.e. doses likely to be inoculated by an infected arthropod vector into its vertebrate host during blood-feeding) respond to SGE treatment in vitro provides a new opportunity for identifying the factors in tick saliva that promote virus transmission in vivo.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author: NERC Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3SR. Tel: +44 1865 281631. Fax: +44 1865 281636. E-mail:



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