An Ixodes scapularis cell line with a predominantly neuron-like phenotype
The Ixodes scapularis embryo-derived cell line ISE6 is the most widely utilized tick-derived cell line due to its susceptibility to a wide variety of tick- and non-tick-vectored pathogens. Little is known about its tissue origin or biological background. Protein expression of ISE6 cells was compared with that of another I. scapularis-derived cell line, IDE12, and dissected tick synganglia. Results demonstrated the presence of a neuronal marker protein, type 3 β-tubulin, in all three samples, as well as other shared and unique neuronal and immune response-associated proteins. Of neuronal proteins shared between the two cell lines, ISE6 expressed several in significantly greater quantities than IDE12. Stimulation of ISE6 cells by in vivo exposure to the hemocoel environment in unfed larval and molting nymphal ticks, but not unfed nymphal ticks, resulted in the development of neuron-like morphologic characteristics in the implanted cells.