Molecular basis of anticoagulant and anticomplement activity of the tick salivary protein Salp14 and its homologs

Stepan S. Denisov, Johannes H. Ippel, Elisabetta Castoldi, Ben J. Mans, Tilman M. Hackeng, Ingrid Dijkgraaf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


During feeding, a tick's mouthpart penetrates the host's skin and damages tissues and small blood vessels, triggering the extrinsic coagulation and lectin complement pathways. To elude these defense mechanisms, ticks secrete multiple anticoagulant proteins and complement system inhibitors in their saliva. Here, we characterized the inhibitory activities of the homologous tick salivary proteins tick salivary lectin pathway inhibitor, Salp14, and Salp9Pac from Ixodes scapularis in the coagulation cascade and the lectin complement pathway. All three proteins inhibited binding ofmannan-binding lectin to the polysaccharide mannan, preventing the activation of the lectin complement pathway. In contrast, only Salp14 showed an appreciable effect on coagulation by prolonging the lag timeof thrombin generation. We found that the anticoagulant properties of Salp14 are governed by its basic tail region, which resembles the C terminus of tissue factor pathway inhibitor alpha and blocks the assembly and/or activity of the prothrombinase complex in the same way. Moreover, the Salp14 protein tail contributes to the inhibition of the lectin complement pathway via interaction with mannan binding lectin-associated serine proteases. Furthermore, we identified BaSO4-adsorbing protein 1 isolated from the tick Ornithodoros savignyi as a distant homolog of tick salivary lectin pathway inhibitor/Salp14 proteins and showed that it inhibits the lectin complement pathway but not coagulation. The structure of BaSO4-adsorbing protein 1, solved here usingNMR spectroscopy, indicated that this protein adopts a noncanonical epidermal growth factor domain-like structural fold, the first such report for tick salivary proteins. These data support a mechanism by which tick saliva proteins simultaneously inhibit both the host coagulation cascade and the lectin complement pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100865
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021




Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular basis of anticoagulant and anticomplement activity of the tick salivary protein Salp14 and its homologs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this