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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #381298

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees Against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: RNA interference-mediated knockdown of genes encoding spore wall proteins confers protection against Nosema ceranae infection in the European Honey Bee, Apis mellifera

Author
item HE, NAN - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University
item ZHANG, YI - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University
item DUAN, XIN LE - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University
item LI, JIANG HONG - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University
item HUANG, WEI-FONG - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University
item Evans, Jay
item DeGrandi-Hoffman, Gloria
item Chen, Yanping - Judy
item HUANG, SHOAKANG - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University

Submitted to: Microorganisms
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Nosema ceranae is a new emerging pathogen of honey bees and has been associated with worldwide honey bee colony losses. The only registered treatment for Nosema disease is Fumagillin-B, which has raised concerns about resistance. As a result, there is an urgent need for new and effective therapeutic options to treat this illness in the insect. In this study, we employed RNA interference (RNAi), which is a new method for shutting down any gene in the body of a wide range of organisms to inhibit Nosema disease infection in honey bees. Our results showed that knocking down two Nosema-virulent genes that encode spore wall proteins could suppress Nosema replication, enhance honey bees' immune responses, and extend the lifespan of infected bees. The information obtained from this study will have positive implications for honey-bee disease management practices and should be of interest to researchers, graduate students, apiary inspectors, and beekeepers worldwide.

Technical Abstract: Nosema ceranae (Opisthosporidia: Microsporidia) is an emergent intracellular parasite of the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) and causes serious Nosema disease which has been associated with worldwide honey bee colony losses. The only registered treatment for Nosema disease is Fumagillin-B, and this has raised concerns about resistance and off-target effects. Fumagillin-B is banned from use in honey bee colonies in many countries particularly in Europe. As a result, there is an urgent need for new and effective therapeutic options to treat Nosema disease in honey bees. An RNA interference (RNAi)-based approach can be a potent strategy for controlling diseases in honeybees.We explored the therapeutic potential of silencing the sequences of two N. ceranae encoded spore wall protein (SWP) genes by means of the RNAi-based methodology. Our study revealed that the oral ingestion of dsRNAs corresponding to SWP8 and SWP12 used separately or in combination could lead to a significant reduction in spore load, improve immunity, and extend the lifespan of N. ceranae infected bees. The results from the work completed here enhance our understanding of honey bee host responses to microsporidia infection, and highlight that RNAi-based therapeutics are a promising treatment for honey bee diseases.