Identification of proteins from the secretory/excretory products (SEPs) of the branchiuran ectoparasite Argulus foliaceus (Linnaeus, 1758) reveals unique secreted proteins amongst haematophagous ecdysozoa



AmbuAli A, Monaghan SJ, McLean K, Inglis NF, Bekaert M, Wehner S & Bron JE (2020) Identification of proteins from the secretory/excretory products (SEPs) of the branchiuran ectoparasite Argulus foliaceus (Linnaeus, 1758) reveals unique secreted proteins amongst haematophagous ecdysozoa. Parasites and Vectors, 13 (1), Art. No.: 88.

Background It is hypothesised that being a blood-feeding ectoparasite, Argulus foliaceus (Linnaeus, 1758), uses similar mechanisms for digestion and host immune evasion to those used by other haematophagous ecdysozoa, including caligid copepods (e.g. sea louse). We recently described and characterised glands associated with the feeding appendages of A. foliaceus using histological techniques. The work described in the present study is the first undertaken with the objective of identifying and partially characterising the components secreted from these glands using a proteomic approach. Methods Argulus foliaceus parasites were sampled from the skin of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), from Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute, Scotland, UK. The proteins from A. foliaceus secretory/excretory products (SEPs) were collected from the supernatant of artificial freshwater conditioned with active adult parasites (n = 5–9 per ml; n = 560 total). Proteins within the SEPs were identified and characterised using LC-ESI-MS/MS analysis. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD016226. Results Data mining of a protein database translated from an A. foliaceus dataset using ProteinScape allowed identification of 27 predicted protein sequences from the A. foliaceus SEPs, each protein matching the criteria of 2 peptides with at least 4 contiguous amino acids. Nine proteins had no matching sequence through OmicsBox (Blast2GO) analysis searches suggesting that Argulus spp. may additionally have unique proteins present in their SEPs. SignalP 5.0 software, identified 13 proteins with a signal sequence suggestive of signal peptides and supportive of secreted proteins being identified. Notably, the functional characteristics of identified A. foliaceus proteins/domains have also been described from the salivary glands and saliva of other blood-feeding arthropods such as ticks. Identified proteins included: transporters, peroxidases, metalloproteases, proteases and serine protease inhibitors which are known to play roles in parasite immune evasion/induction (e.g. astacin), immunomodulation (e.g. serpin) and digestion (e.g. trypsin). Conclusions To our knowledge, the present study represents the first proteomic analysis undertaken for SEPs from any branchiuran fish louse. Here we reveal possible functional roles of A. foliaceus SEPs in digestion and immunomodulation, with a number of protein families shared with other haematophagous ectoparasites. A number of apparently unique secreted proteins were identified compared to other haematophagous ecdysozoa.

Secretions; Immunomodulation; Fish lice; Argulus; Branchiura

Parasites and Vectors: Volume 13, Issue 1

FundersSultan Qaboos University
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online28/02/2020
Date accepted by journal13/02/2020
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC

People (3)


Dr Michaël Bekaert
Dr Michaël Bekaert

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Aquaculture

Professor James Bron
Professor James Bron

Professor, Institute of Aquaculture

Dr Sean Monaghan
Dr Sean Monaghan

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Aquaculture