Isolation and expression of the retinoid X receptor from last instar nymphs and adult females of the soft tick Ornithodoros moubata (Acari: Argasidae)
Retinoid X receptors (RXR) exist broadly from invertebrates to vertebrates, and play essential roles in physiological processes of these organisms. In arthropods, RXRs form a complex with the ecdysteroid receptor (EcR) and ecdysteroids to mediate the regulation of ecdysis and reproduction. Compared to EcR, RXR and its homologue ultraspiracle (USP) are much less well understood. Therefore, we identified RXR of the soft tick Ornithodoros moubata (OmRXR) and used real-time PCR to examine the expression of OmRXR. This is the first report of RXR from a soft tick. OmRXR showed higher homology to hard tick, crustacean and vertebrate RXRs than insect RXRs and USPs. OmRXR expression was observed during molting in the last instar nymphs coinciding with EcR expression and increases in ecdysteroid titers. Tick vitellogenesis normally occurs soon after engorgement and OmRXR expression coinciding with EcR expression and ecdysteroid titers in engorged females occurred before vitellogenin (Vg) synthesis and egg maturation. The ecdysteroid/EcR/RXR complex appears to be important in the regulation of molting and vitellogenesis of soft ticks.