The poultry red mite (PRM) Dermanyssus gallinae causes high economic losses and is among the most important parasites in poultry farming worldwide. Different chemical, physical, and biological strategies try to control the expansion of PRM. However, effective solutions to this problem still have to be found. Here, we present a method for the development of an immunological control strategy, based on the identification of mite protein antigens which elicit antibodies with anti-mite activity in the immunized chicken. Hens were immunized with different PRM protein extracts formulated with two different adjuvants, and IgY-antibodies were isolated from the eggs. A PRM in vitro feeding assay which used chicken blood spiked with these IgY-preparations was used to detect antibodies which caused PRM mortality. In vitro feeding of mites with IgY isolated from hens immunized with PRM extract formulated with one of the adjuvants showed a statistically significant increase in the mortality as compared to control mites. After the separation of total PRM extracts in two-dimensional gels, several protein spots were recognized by such IgY preparations. Ten protein spots were subjected to mass spectrometry (MS/MS) for the identification of the corresponding proteins. Complete protein sequences were deduced from genomic and transcriptomic assemblies derived from high throughput sequencing of total PRM DNA and RNA. The results may contribute to the development of an immunological control strategy of D. gallinae.
Antigen discovery; Pest control; Poultry mite; Vaccine