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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #391334

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees Against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Mediating a host cell signaling pathway linked to the overwinter mortality offers a promising therapeutic approach for improving bee health

item ZHANG, YI - Guangdong Academy
item LIU, ANDREW - Non ARS Employee
item HUANG, SHAOKANG - Non ARS Employee
item Evans, Jay
item Cook, Steven
item PALMER-YOUNG, EVAN - Orise Fellow
item Corona, Miguel
item Alburaki, Mohamed
item Liu, Ge - George
item HAN, RICHOU - Guangdong Academy
item LI, WENFENG - Guangdong Academy
item HAO, YUE - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item LI, JILIAN - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item GILLIGAN, TODD - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item SMITH-PARDO, ALLAN - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item BANMEKE, OLUBUKOLA - Non ARS Employee
item Posada-Florez, Francisco
item GAO, YA - University Of Maryland
item DeGrandi-Hoffman, Gloria
item XIE, HUICHUN - Qinghai University
item Chen, Yanping - Judy

Submitted to: Journal of Advanced Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/16/2022
Publication Date: 12/18/2022
Citation: Zhang, Y., Liu, A., Huang, S., Evans, J.D., Cook, S.C., Palmer-Young, E., Corona, M.V., Alburaki, M., Liu, G., Han, R., Li, W., Hao, Y., Li, J., Gilligan, T., Smith-Pardo, A.H., Banmeke, O., Posada-Florez, F.J., Gao, Y.H., Hoffman, G.D., Xie, H., Chen, Y. 2022. Mediating a host cell signaling pathway linked to the overwinter mortality offers a promising therapeutic approach for improving bee health. Journal of Advanced Research.

Interpretive Summary: Overwinter honey bee colony losses are a major threat to worldwide apiculture and are often linked to diseases caused by pathogens, especially viruses. However, the mechanism that underlies honey bees' susceptibility to disease infections under winter-based environmental conditions is largely unknown. We conducted an investigation to screen for the prevalence of pathogens in overwinter colonies for four consecutive years, and then we assessed overwinter honey bees' responses to these pathogens. Our study led to the identification of a potential novel therapeutic target for alleviation of cold stress in honey bees and useful biomarkers for measuring the stress levels of overwinter honey bees. The valuable information obtained from this study might open up a new frontier in relation to development strategies for monitoring the health status of overwintering honey bees and for mitigating colony losses over winter and annually.

Technical Abstract: Overwintering mortality is the greatest threat to the supply of healthy bee colonies available for pollination of spring-blooming crops, but efforts to mitigate colony losses are hindered because underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. In the present study, we identified that sirtuin signaling pathway is the most significantly affected pathway in collapsing overwintering colonies that carried a high prevalence of pathogens and is a convergent signaling hub that links mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolism alterations. We showed that the expression of SIRT1, a major sirtuin regulating energy and immune metabolism, was significantly downregulated in diseased overwintering bees and bees exposed to cold challenge alone. We demonstrated that activation of SIRT1 expression by SRT1720, a SIRT1 activator, could result in increased robustness and lifespan extension of cold-stressed bees. The novel information gained from this study provides a promising avenue for the development of therapeutic strategies for mitigating colony losses, both overwinter and annually.