Tick salivary secretion as a source of antihemostatics

Jindrich Chmelar, Eric Calvo, Joao H.F. Pedra, Ivo M.B. Francischetti, Michail Kotsyfakis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Ticks are mostly obligatory blood feeding ectoparasites that have an impact on human and animal health. In addition to direct damage due to feeding, some tick species serve as the vectors for the causative agents of several diseases, such as the spirochetes of the genus Borrelia causing Lyme disease, the virus of tick-borne encephalitis, various Rickettsial pathogens or even protozoan parasites like Babesia spp. Hard ticks are unique among bloodfeeders because of their prolonged feeding period that may last up to two weeks. During such a long period of blood uptake, the host develops a wide range of mechanisms to prevent blood loss. The arthropod ectoparasite, in turn, secretes saliva in the sites of bite that assists blood feeding. Indeed, tick saliva represents a rich source of proteins with potent pharmacologic action that target different mechanisms of coagulation, platelet aggregation and vasoconstriction. Tick adaptation to their vertebrate hosts led to the inclusion of a powerful protein armamentarium in their salivary secretion that has been investigated by high-throughput methods. The resulting knowledge can be exploited for the isolation of novel antihemostatic agents. Here we review the tick salivary antihemostatics and their characterized functions at the molecular and cellular levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3842-3854
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 16 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Coagulation
  • Hemostasis
  • Platelet aggregation
  • Salivary gland
  • Thrombin
  • Tick

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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