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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » Honey Bee Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345861

Research Project: Understanding Honey Bee Microbiota to Improve Bee Nutrition and Colony Health

Location: Honey Bee Research

Title: The queen's gut refines with age: longevity phenotypes in a social insect model

Author
item Anderson, Kirk
item Ricigliano, Vincent
item Copeland, Duan - University Of Arizona
item Floyd, Amy - University Of Arizona
item Mott, Brendon
item Maes, Patrick - University Of Arizona

Submitted to: BMC Microbiome
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/29/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Studies of honey bee microbiota have focused almost exclusively on the worker bees. Here we sequenced the bacterial communities of 63 honey bee queens exploring two general ages, three environmental histories, and four tissues. Queen age was further quantified as the accumulation of age related moleculas in fat-body tissue. Next generation sequencing produced 7.2 million high-quality reads, >97% belonging to six bacterial species clusters previously detected in honey bee workers. Queen bacterial communities show consistent species occurence with 6 species clusters dominating 97% of the queen alimentary tract. Queens and workers share all major species, but differ markedly in community structure. From the mouth to the rectum, bacterial abundance increases with decreasing species diversity. Considered general hive bacteria and associated with gut disfunction in workers, bacterial species Lactobacillus kunkeei and Parasaccharibacter apium are core members of the queen ileum and dominate the queen mouth and midgut. The queen ileum and rectum are dominated by Lactobacillus Firm5. Bacterial communities differ by queen age, background, and tissue. Accounting for variation attributable to queen background, two or more bacterial species per tissue differ significantly by age. Increased Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus typifies the guts of older queens. Acetobacteraceae, P. apium and Alpha 2.1 are more prevalent in younger queens. While the aging worker hindgut is progressively dominated by three different gram negative bacteria, these species were sparse or absent in the aging queen hindgut. More broadly, our results suggest different reproductive caste trajectories for age-related bacterial succession and evolution of host-microbe interactions.

Technical Abstract: Studies of honey bee microbiota have focused almost exclusively on the sterile worker caste. Here we sequenced the microbiota of 63 honey bee queens exploring two general ages, three environmental histories, and four alimentary tract niches. Queen age was further quantified as the accumulation of oxidation products in fat-body tissue. Next generation sequencing produced 7.2 million high-quality reads, >97% belonging to six bacterial species clusters previously detected in honey bee workers. The queen microbiota is taxonomically consistent with 6 species clusters dominating 97% of the queen alimentary tract. Queens and workers share all major species, but differ markedly in community structure. From the mouth to the rectum, bacterial abundance increases with decreasing species diversity. Considered general hive bacteria and associated with ileum dysbiosis in workers, Lactobacillus kunkeei and Parasaccharibacter apium are core members of the queen ileum and dominate the queen mouth and midgut. The queen ileum and rectum are dominated by Lactobacillus Firm5. Analyzed as log ratios, microbiota composition differs by queen age, background, and niche. Accounting for variation attributable to queen background, two or more bacterial species per niche differ significantly by age. Increased Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus typifies the guts of older queens. Acetobacteraceae, P. apium and Alpha 2.1 are more prevalent in younger queens. While the aging worker hindgut is progressively dominated by three different gram negative bacteria, these species were sparse or absent in the aging queen hindgut. More broadly, our results suggest different reproductive caste trajectories for age-related microbial succession and evolution of host-microbe interactions.