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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354517

Title: Nosemosis control in European honey bees Apis mellifera by silencing the gene encoding Nosema ceranae polar tubule protein 3

item Evans, Jay
item LI, WENFENG - Non ARS Employee
item BRANCHICCELA, BELEN - Instituto Nacional De Investigacion Argropecuaria, Urugary
item LI, JIANGHONG - Non ARS Employee
item Heerman, Matthew
item Hamilton, Michele
item HIGES, MARIANO - Non ARS Employee
item Chen, Yanping - Judy

Submitted to: Journal of Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2018
Publication Date: 8/22/2018
Citation: Rodriguez-Garcia, C., Evans, J.D., Li, W., Branchiccela, B., Li, J., Heerman, M.C., Hamilton, M.C., Martin-Hernandez, R., Higes, M., Chen, Y. 2018. Nosemosis control in European honey bees Apis mellifera by silencing the gene encoding Nosema ceranae polar tubule protein 3. Journal of Experimental Biology. 221:jeb184606.

Interpretive Summary: RNA interference (RNAi) is a new method to shut down any gene in the body of a wide range of organisms and has been used effectively to inhibit the replication of different pathogens. Here, we demonstrate that knocking down a virulent gene of a intracellular parasite Nosema in infected bees could suppress parasite replication, enhance immune responses and improve the overall health of Nosema-infected bees. The information obtained from this study will have positive implications for honey bee disease management practices and should be of interest to the researchers, graduate students, apiary inspectors, and beekeepers in the honey bee society worldwide.

Technical Abstract: RNA interference (RNAi) is a post-transcriptional gene silencing mechanism triggered by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) that is homologous in sequence to the silenced gene and conserved in a wide range of eukaryotic organisms. This mechanism has provided unique opportunities in combating honey bee diseases caused by various parasites and pathogens. Nosema ceranae is a microsporidian parasite of European honey bees, Apis mellifera and has been associated with honey bee colony losses worldwide. Here we explored the possibility of silencing the expression of a N. ceranae virulent gene encoding Polar Tube Protein 3 (PTP3) which is involved in the host cell invasion as a therapeutic strategy for controlling Nosema disease in honey bees. Our studies showed that the oral ingestion of a dsRNA corresponding to the sequences of N. ceranae PTP3 could effectively suppress the expression of the PTP3 gene in N. ceranae infected bees, reduce Nosema load. In addition, the knockdown of PTP3 gene expression also led to improved innate immunity, reduced Nosema load, and extended lifespan in N. ceranae infected bees in comparison to the untreated negative control. These results strongly suggest that RNAi-based therapeutics hold real promise for the effective treatment of honey bee diseases in the future and warrant further investigation.