Dr Alan Bowman
Varroa Mite Research
A short video of the bee health crisis and our work is available here
The varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is the biggest global killer of honey bees. The mite is an ectoparasite that sucks the blood from developing and adult bees whilst spitting viruses into the bee as well as immunosuppressants that render the bee more susceptible to normally benign bacteria and fungi. Our lab works with DEFRA's National Bee Unit on several aspects of varroa research: (1) we have developed a method of gene knockdown in varroa that has potential as a control measure; (2) we have dissected out the "brain" of mites (not an easy task!!) and studied the genes expressed in that vital tissue by transcriptomics; (3) we have developed a method of collecting saliva from these tiny beasts and studied the effect of the saliva on insect immune cell function.
Dietary Protection against Sea Lice
Sea lice remain major economic burden to the salmon aquaculture industry and have been implicated in wild salmon and sea trout stock declines. Various components in some salmon diets are reported to confer protection against sea louse infestation. In a project funded by BioMar Ld, we aim to elucidate the underlying mechanism of this dietary protection employing next-generation sequencing and proteomics to assess changes in the transcriptome and proteome.
Employing semio-chemicals for sea louse control
Sea lice use semiochemicals ("smells") emanating from their preferred host for host location. Conversely, the lice use semiochemicals from non-host fish species to avoid locating and settling on inappropriate hosts. Funded by three industrial partners, our lab investigates the feasibility of moving semiochemical control approaches from the lab to the field.
Increased emergence of resistance to currently used acarcides ("tickicides"), together with the withdrawal of other aracicides, has necessitated the development of new acaricides. We investigate the presence of new targets at the protein and gene level and the development of protocols for assessing their potential as targets for acaricides. Transcriptome analysis of both salivary gland and synganglion ("brain") is performed to identify potential acaricide targets and these targets are then functionally characterised in hrterologous expression systems. Gene knockdown by double-stranded RNA-interference to "genetically validate" our putative targets is a useful approach in our studies
Water channels or Aquaporins:
Cell membranes are, by default, impermeable to water. Cells are rendered water-permeable by aquaporins or water-channels embedded in the membrane. Unsurprisingly, cells involved in the movement of large volumes of water have high levels of aquaporins. Relatively little is known about aquaporins in invertebrates. Our lab investigates aquaporins in ticks, earthworms and silkworms. We study the transport properties and regulation by the expression of aquaporins in frogs eggs and site-directed mutagenesis. By depleting isolated tissues or whole animals of these aquaporins using RNA-interference "knock-down" we can study the functional role and importance of these aquaporins and, hence, genetically validate whether such aquaporins might be appropriate for drug development.
Fatty Acid Binding Proteins in Tick Salivary Glands:
Tick salivary glands contain an intracellular fatty acid binding protein (FABP) postulated to play a role in arachidonate and eicosanoid metabolism. This project assesses the ligand binding characteristics of the recombinant tick FABP and investigates the regulation and localization of its expression.
Programmed Cell Death in Tick Salivary Glands:
After adult ticks have fed on the host, the salivary glands are no longer needed and degenerate over the next few days. This project investigates the mechanisms of this deliberate and non-pathological process and studies the genes and proteins involved.
Immunomodulators in Tick Saliva:
Ticks remain attached to the host for many days without eliciting an immune or inflammatory response capable of rejecting the tick. Compounds in the saliva suppress the host's inflammatory and immune response. This project investigates what these factors are and how they function.
Sam Martin, University of Aberdeen
Stefan Hoppler, University of Aberdeen
Lucy Gilbert, Macaulay Institute
Ken Forbes, University of Aberdeen
David Sattelle, University of Oxford
Giles Budge, National Bee Unit, FERA
Elaine Richards, FERA, Sand Hutton, York
2011 Marine Harvest; Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation; Sainsbury's Supermarkets "Feasibility study of semiochemicals for sea louse control"
2010/2014 BioMar Ltd "Understanding the molecular basis of dietary protection against sealice in Atlantic salmon: application of transcriptomics and proteomics"
2009 National Bee Unit, FERA "The Varroa mite: feasibilbity study of synganglion transcriptome analysis and gene knockdown"
2009 Genesis Faraday "The Varroa mite: feasibilbity study of synganglion transcriptome analysis and gene knockdown"
2009 CLSM Pump Priming Initiative "Gene knockdown in sea lice"
2008 Pfizer Animal Health "Functional characterisation of a nicotinic acetlycholine receptor from the dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus"
2007 Evolutec plc "EST analysis of a Ixodes ricinus salivary gland"
2006/2007 Evolutec plc "Generation of a cDNA library from the salivary glands of Ixodes ricinus and its validation"
2006/2009 BBSRC, "Tick salivary gland aquaporins"
2006/2010 BBSRC-DTG CASE studentship with the Macaulay Institute "Lyme borreliosis in Scotland"
2006/2009 Evolutec plc / College of Life Sciences and Medicine studentship "Bioactive factors in the sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus"
2004/2007 BBSRC Committee studentship "Earthworm aquaporins"
2004/2007 BBSRC Industrial-CASE studentship (with Pfizer) "Drug targets in the tick synganglia"
2003/2006 NERC studentship (with CEH Banchory) "Ticks & pathogens in the Scottish Uplands)
2002/2005: BBSRC-CASE (with Pfizer) studentship, "Drug targets in tick salivary glands"
2002/2005: BBSRC, "Tick Fatty Acid Binding Proteins"
2001/2004: Leverhulme Trust, "Programmed Cell Death in Ticks"
2001/2003: Cunningham Trust, "Tick Salivary Immunomodulators"
New Tick Book
Ticks: Biology, Diseases & Control, (eds A.S. Bowman & P.A. Nuttall), Cambridge University Press.
Available Europe, Australia, Africa Dec 2008.
Available Americas Feb 2009
Click on book cover for more details
Contributions to Journals
- Hastie, LC., Wallace, C., Birkett, MA., Douglas, A., Jones, O., Mordue, AJ., Ritchie, G., Pickett, JA., Webster, JL. & Bowman, AS. (2013). 'Prevalence and infection intensity of sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) on Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) host is reduced by the non-host compound 2-aminoacetophenone'. Aquaculture, vol 410 - 411, pp. 179-183.
[Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2013.06.035
- Micallef, G., Bickerdike, R., Reiff, C., Fernandes, JMO., Bowman, AS. & Martin, SAM. (2012). 'Exploring the transcriptome of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) skin, a major defense organ'. Marine Biotechnology, vol 14, no. 5, pp. 559-569.
[Online] DOI: 10.1007/s10126-012-9447-2
- James, MC., Furness, RW., Bowman, AS., Forbes, KJ. & Gilbert, L. (2011). 'The importance of passerine birds as tick hosts and in the transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease: a case study from Scotland'. Ibis, vol 153, no. 2, pp. 293-302.
[Online] DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2011.01111.x
- Campbell, EM., Burdin, M., Hoppler, S. & Bowman, AS. (2010). 'Role of an aquaporin in the sheep tick Ixodes ricinus: Assessment as a potential control target'. International Journal for Parasitology, vol 40, no. 1, pp. 15-23.
[Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2009.06.010
- Lees, K., Woods, D. & Bowman, AS. (2010). 'Transcriptome analysis of the synganglion from the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus'. Insect Molecular Biology, vol 19, no. 3, pp. 273-282.
[Online] DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2583.2009.00968.x
- Campbell, EM., Budge, GE. & Bowman, AS. (2010). 'Gene-knockdown in the honey bee mite Varroa destructor by a non-invasive approach: studies on a glutathione S-transferase'. Parasites & Vectors, vol 3, pp. 73.
[Online] DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-3-73
[Online] AURA: mite%20geneknockdown.pdf
- Ball, A., Campbell, EM., Jacob, J., Hoppler, S. & Bowman, AS. (2009). 'Identification, functional characterization and expression patterns of a water-specific aquaporin in the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus'. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol 39, no. 2, pp. 105-112.
[Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2008.10.006
- Ukeh, DA., Birkett, MA., Pickett, JA., Bowman, AS. & Luntz, AJM. (2009). 'Repellent activity of alligator pepper, Aframomum melegueta, and ginger, Zingiber officinale, against the maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais'. Phytochemistry, vol 70, no. 6, pp. 751-758.
[Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2009.03.012
- Campbell, EM., Pert, CC. & Bowman, AS. (2009). 'RNA-interference methods for gene-knockdown in the sea louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis: studies on a putative prostaglandin E synthase'. Parasitology, vol 136, no. 8, pp. 867-874.
[Online] DOI: 10.1017/S0031182009990357
- Watts, EJ., Palmer, SCF., Bowman, AS., Irvine, J., Smith, A. & Travis, JMJ. (2009). 'The effect of host movement on viral transmission dynamics in a vector-borne disease system'. Parasitology, vol 136, no. 10, pp. 1221-1234.
[Online] DOI: 10.1017/S0031182009990424
- Bowman, AS. & Sauer, JR. (2004). 'Tick salivary glands: function, physiology and future'. Parasitology, vol 129, no. S1, pp. S67-S82.
[Online] DOI: 10.1017/S0031182004006468
- Hannier, S., Liversidge, JM., Sternberg, JM. & Bowman, AS. (2004). 'Characterisation of the B-cell inhibitory protein factor in Ixodes ricinus tick saliva:a potential role in enhanced Borrelia burgdoferi transmission'. Immunology, vol 113, no. 3, pp. 401-408.
[Online] DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2004.01975.x
- Hannier, S., Liversidge, JM., Sternberg, JM. & Bowman, AS. (2003). 'Ixodes ricinus tick salivary gland extract inhibits IL-10 secretion and CD69 expression by mitogen-stimulated murine splenocytes and induces hyporesponsiveness in B lymphocytes'. Parasite Immunology, vol 25, no. 1, pp. 27-37.
[Online] DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-3024.2003.00605.x
- Aljamali, M., Bowman, AS., Dillwith, JW., Tucker, JS., Yates, GW., Essenberg, RC. & Sauer, JR. (2002). 'Identity and synthesis of prostaglandins in the lone star tick, Ambylomma americanum (L.), as assessed by radioimmunoassay and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry'. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol 32, no. 3, pp. 331-341.
[Online] DOI: 10.1016/S0965-1748(01)00113-8
- Martin, SAM., Blaney, SC., Bowman, AS. & Houlihan, DFJ. (2002). 'Ubiquitin-proteasome dependant proteolysis in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss : effect of food deprivation'. Pflugers Archiv : European Journal of Physiology, vol 445, pp. 257-266.
[Online] DOI: 10.1007/s00424-002-0916-8
- Karim, S., Essenberg, RC., Dillwith, JW., Tucker, JS., Bowman, AS. & Sauer, JR. (2002). 'Identification of SNARE and cell trafficking regulatory proteins in the salivary glands of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (L.)'. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol 32, no. 12, pp. 1711-1721.
[Online] DOI: 10.1016/S0965-1748(02)00111-X
- Kaufman, WR., Bowman, AS. & Nuttall, PA. (2001). 'Salivary fluid secretion in the ixodid tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus is inhibited by Thogoto virus infection'. Experimental and Applied Acarology, vol 25, no. 8, pp. 661-674.
[Online] DOI: 10.1023/A:1016184101160
- Campbell, EM., Ball, A., Hoppler, S. & Bowman, AS. (2008). 'Invertebrate aquaporins: a review'. Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology, vol 178, no. 8, pp. 935-955.
[Online] DOI: 10.1007/s00360-008-0288-2
Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings
- Bowman, AS., Ball, A. & Sauer, JR. (2008). 'Tick salivary glands: the physiology of tick water balance and their role in pathogen trafficking and transmission'. in A Bowman & P Nuttall (eds), Ticks: biology, disease and control. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 73-91.
[Online] DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511551802.004
- Bowman, AS. & Nuttall, P. (2008). 'Preface'. in A Bowman & P Nuttall (eds), Ticks: biology, disease and control. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, pp. xi-xii.
Contributions to Conferences
- Bowman, AS., Calder, CJ. & Marston, PG. (2002). 'Development and Implimentation of a Virtual Practical for Bio-Sciences'. Society for Experimental Biology annual conference, Swansea, United Kingdom, 8/04/02 - 12/04/02,.
Books and Reports
- Bowman, AS. & Nuttall, P. (eds) (2009). 'Ticks: biology, disease and control'. Cambridge University Press.
- Bowman, AS. & Nuttall, PA. (2004). 'Ticks: biology, disease and control'. Unknown Publisher, Parasitology.
Contributions to Specialist Publications
- Bowman, AS., Calder, CJ. & Marston, PG. (2006). 'Virtual Practicals'. p. 10, Centre for Bioscience Bulletin, 19.
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