Date of Award
Master of Science - Biology
Dr. Josephine Taylor
Dr. Lindsay Porter
Dr. Zeljko Radulovic
Dr. Keith Hubbard
Amblyomma americanum is a medically important vector in the southeast United States. Cellular and molecular aspects of the immune system of this species were examined. To investigate cellular processes, hemocytes produced in response to gram-negative infection were characterized according to their ultrastructure. Four hemocyte types were identified: prohemocytes, plasmatocytes, type-I granulocytes, and type-II granulocytes. To elucidate molecular processes, we investigated AamTRAF as an immune-related gene by silencing the gene using RNAi then quantifying the hemocytes after inoculation with gram-negative and positive bacteria. It was found that silencing AamTRAF caused a decrease in hemocyte proliferation in response to gram-positive but not gram-negative bacteria. Knowledge gained from this research contributes to the understanding of the Amblyomma americanum immune system, with the long-term goal of determining how human pathogens evade detection in this vector.
May, Jacquelyn T., "Characterization of Hemocytes in Amblyomma americanum and Investigation of TRAF6’s Role in Proliferation of Hemocytes in Response to Infection" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 448.
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