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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Baton Rouge, Louisiana » Honey Bee Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #353953

Research Project: Genetics and Breeding in Support of Honey Bee Health

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Understanding mechanisms of differential tolerance to deformed wing infection in honey bees

item Simone-Finstrom, Michael

Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Honey bees contend with a variety of abiotic and biotic stressors, and this has led to high and likely unsustainable annual colony mortality. The ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor is the biggest threat affecting honey bee health in large part because of the viruses that mites vector while feeding during reproduction and development on honey bee pupae. Deformed wing virus (DWV), in particular, has been noted to be associated with colony losses. Because of the significance of Varroa-DWV dynamics, there has been much interest in the relationship between colony mite infestation and viral prevalence. In a few cases, it has been noted that colonies that have natural resistance mechanisms against Varroa have lower incidences of DWV infection. However in other populations mite-resistance seems to be correlated with tolerance to DWV, meaning that mite-resistant colonies survive with high levels of DWV and exhibit fewer symptoms. To clarify whether resistance (maintain low viral titers despite infection) or tolerance (high survival, no symptoms with high virus) to DWV appears to be driving differential effects across honey bee colonies, pupae from single-drone inseminated queens derived from various stocks were injected with a low, moderate or high dose of DWV solution, containing 10^4, 10^7, 10^10 viral copies respectively. Pupae showed differential survival and development of the typical DWV symptoms (wrinkled or poorly developed wings, shortened abdomen) based on colony origin. A subset of pupae were selected from 5 colonies that displayed low survival and high symptom development at all doses and 5 colonies that displayed high survival and low symptom development at all doses to determine differences in viral titer and antiviral responses as a way to detect whether the colonies exhibit resistance or tolerance to DWV. Additionally, pupae from the same colonies that displayed differential symptom development after injection with the same dose were examined to understand possible individual differences in tolerance or resistance to viral infection.