Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PESTS, PARASITES, DISEASES AND STRESS OF MANAGED HONEY BEES USED IN HONEY PRODUCTION AND POLLINATION

Location:

Title: Transcriptional responses in honey bee larvae infected with chalkbrood fungus

Authors
item Aronstein, Katherine
item Murray, Keith
item Saldivar, Eduardo

Submitted to: Biomed Central (BMC) Genomics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 18, 2010
Publication Date: June 21, 2010
Citation: Aronstein, K.A., Murray, K.D., Saldivar, E. 2010. Transcriptional responses in honey bee larvae infected with chalkbrood fungus. Biomed Central (BMC) Genomics. 11:Article 391.

Interpretive Summary: Diseases and other stress factors working synergistically weaken honey bee health and may play a major role in the losses of bee populations in recent years. Among a large number of bee diseases, chalkbrood has been on the rise. We present here the experimental identification of honey bee genes that are differentially expressed in response to infection of honey bee larvae with the chalkbrood fungus. In this study we have identified a number of differentially-regulated transcripts that are implicated in general mechanisms of stress adaptation, including energy metabolism and protein transport. We were able to determine several key transcriptional events that constitute the overall effort in the honey bee larvae to fight natural fungal infection. Honey bee transcripts identified in this study are involved in critical functions related to transcriptional regulation, apoptotic degradation of proteins, nutritional regulation, and RNA processing. We found that immune regulation of the anti-fungal responses in honey bee involves highly coordinated activation of humoral immune pathways, leading to production of anti-microbial peptides. Significantly, activation of immune responses in the infected bee larvae was associated with down-regulation of major storage proteins that could lead to depletion of nutritional resources.

Technical Abstract: Diseases and other stress factors working synergistically weaken honey bee health and may play a major role in the losses of bee populations in recent years. Among a large number of bee diseases, chalkbrood has been on the rise. We present here the experimental identification of honey bee genes that are differentially expressed in response to infection of honey bee larvae with the chalkbrood fungus. We used cDNA-AFLP ® Technology to profile transcripts in infected and uninfected bee larvae. From 64 primer combinations, over 7,400 transcriptionally-derived fragments were obtained, a small fraction of which varied in abundance within 24 h post-infection compared to uninfected controls. We were able to determine several key transcriptional events that constitute the overall effort in the honey bee larvae to fight natural fungal infection. Honey bee transcripts identified in this study are involved in critical functions related to transcriptional regulation, apoptotic degradation of proteins, nutritional regulation, and RNA processing. We found that immune regulation of the anti-fungal responses in honey bee involves highly coordinated activation of humoral immune pathways, leading to production of anti-microbial peptides. Significantly, activation of immune responses in the infected bee larvae was associated with down-regulation of major storage proteins that could lead to depletion of nutritional resources.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014