Submitted to: FEMS Microbiology Letters
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2012
Publication Date: 3/8/2012
Citation: Jensen, A.B., Welker, D.L., Kryger, P., James, R.R. 2012. Polymorphic DNA sequences of the fungal honey bee pathogen Asosphaera apis. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 330: 17-22. Interpretive Summary: Chalkbrood is a disease of honey bees caused by a fungus called Ascosphaera apis. This fungus is commonly found in honey bee colonies everywhere, but it has many genetic types. This paper describes a method to identify different genotypes using specific DNA sequences. Useful DNA sequences were identified using the complete genome of this fungus, and these sequence regions were compared with those in other, closely related fungi. The method described in this paper will be useful in the future to identify different strains of the pathogen, to determine how the pathogen has spread throughout a region, or the world, and to help identify particular strains used in pathology studies.
Technical Abstract: The pathogenic fungus Ascosphaera apis is ubiquitous in honey bee populations. We used the draft genome assembly of this pathogen to search for polymorphic intergenic loci. Primers were designed for five different loci and tested against a panel of closely related species. Subsequently, sequence variations in these loci in 12 A. apis isolates were elucidated and compared to the internal transcribed spacer of the ribosomal RNA repeat (ITS) and a variable part of the gene encoding the translation elongation factor 1a (EF1a). Combining data from the two most variable intergenic loci (Scaffold 300 and Scaffold 1635) and EF1a, had the same detection power for A. apis haplotypes as when all loci were included.