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Dermatology - Immunology

Host Transcription Factors in the Immediate Pro-Inflammatory Response to the Parasitic Mite Psoroptes ovis
Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Author: Stewart T. G. Burgess et al.

by Stewart T. G. Burgess, Tom N. McNeilly, Craig A. Watkins, Alasdair J. Nisbet, John F. Huntley


Sheep scab, caused by infestation with the ectoparasitic mite Psoroptes ovis, results in the rapid development of cutaneous inflammation and leads to the crusted skin lesions characteristic of the disease. We described previously the global host transcriptional response to infestation with P. ovis, elucidating elements of the inflammatory processes which lead to the development of a rapid and profound immune response. However, the mechanisms by which this response is instigated remain unclear. To identify novel methods of intervention a better understanding of the early events involved in triggering the immune response is essential. The objective of this study was to gain a clearer understanding of the mechanisms and signaling pathways involved in the instigation of the immediate pro-inflammatory response.


Through a combination of transcription factor binding site enrichment and pathway analysis we identified key roles for a number of transcription factors in the instigation of cutaneous inflammation. In particular, defined roles were elucidated for the transcription factors NF-kB and AP-1 in the orchestration of the early pro-inflammatory response, with these factors being implicated in the activation of a suite of inflammatory mediators.


Interrogation of the host temporal response to P. ovis infestation has enabled the further identification of the mechanisms underlying the development of the immediate host pro-inflammatory response. This response involves key regulatory roles for the transcription factors NF-kB and AP-1. Pathway analysis demonstrated that the activation of these transcription factors may be triggered following a host LPS-type response, potentially involving TLR4-signalling and also lead to the intriguing possibility that this could be triggered by a P. ovis allergen.