Abstract Protein secretion into the saliva from the tick salivary glands is due to exocytosis of vesicular membrane bound granular material regulated by SNARE complex proteins after salivary gland stimulation by PGE 2 [Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 32 (2002) 1711]. Proteins associated with vesicles (v-SNAREs) are essential components of the exocytotic process. Synaptobrevin is a key v-SNARE in all secreting cells studied to date. A vesicle-associated synaptobrevin cDNA fragment homologue from the salivary glands of partially fed lone star tick females was cloned and sequenced. Double-stranded (ds) RNA interference (RNAi) is an effective method to silence specific gene expression. The functional role of synaptobrevin in protein secretion in partially fed tick salivary glands was studied with an in vitro RNAi method. Incubation of isolated salivary glands with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) transcribed from a tick salivary gland synaptobrevin cDNA fragment resulted in decreased expression of the transcript, a reduction in the level of synaptobrevin protein and inhibition of PGE 2 stimulated anticoagulant protein secretion by isolated salivary glands. We demonstrate the applicability of RNAi for studying individual steps in the mechanism of PGE 2 stimulated exocytosis in the salivary glands of ixodid ticks.