The role of basophils in acquired protective immunity to tick infestation

01 May 2021
Yoshikawa S, Miyake K, Kamiya A and Karasuyama H

Ticks are blood-feeding ectoparasites that transmit a variety of pathogens to host animals and humans, causing severe infectious diseases such as Lyme disease. In a certain combination of animal and tick species, tick infestation elicits acquired immunity against ticks in the host, which can reduce the ability of ticks to feed on blood and to transmit pathogens in the following tick infestations. Therefore, our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of acquired tick resistance (ATR) can advance the development of anti-tick vaccines to prevent tick infestation and tick-borne diseases. Basophils are a minor population of white blood cells circulating in the bloodstream and are rarely observed in peripheral tissues under steady-state conditions. Basophils have been reported to accumulate at tick-feeding sites during re-infestation in cattle, rabbits, guinea pigs and mice. Selective ablation of basophils resulted in a loss of ATR in guinea pigs and mice, illuminating the essential role of basophils in the manifestation of ATR. In this review, we discuss the recent advance in the elucidation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying basophil recruitment to the tick-feeding site and basophil-mediated ATR.