The saliva of hematophagous arthropods contains potent anti-inflammatory and antihemostatic activities that promote acquisition of the blood meal and enhance infection with pathogens. We have shown that polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) treated with the saliva of the tick Ixodes scapularis have reduced expression of beta(2) integrins, impaired PMN adherence, and reduced killing of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of
Lyme disease. Here we describe two Ixodes proteins that are induced upon tick feeding and expressed predominantly in the salivary glands. Using saliva harvested from ticks with reduced levels of ISL 929 and ISL 1373 through targeted RNA interference knockdown, as well as purified recombinant proteins, we show the effects of these proteins on downregulation of PMN integrins and inhibition of the production of O(2)(-) by PMN in vitro. Mice immunized with ISL 929/1373 had increased numbers of PMN at the site of tick attachment and a lower spirochete burden in the skin and joints 21 days after infection compared to control-immunized animals. Our results suggest that ISL 929 and ISL 1373 contribute to the inhibition of PMN functions shown previously with tick saliva and support important roles for these inhibitory proteins in the modulation of PMN function in vivo.