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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #407948

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Honey bee Apis mellifera L. responses to oxidative stress induced by pharmacological and pesticidal compounds

item TAHIR, FAIZAN - University Of Southern Mississippi
item Goblirsch, Michael
item Adamczyk, John
item KARIM, SHAHID - University Of Southern Mississippi
item Alburaki, Mohamed

Submitted to: Bee Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2023
Publication Date: 11/21/2023
Citation: Tahir, F., Goblirsch, M.J., Adamczyk Jr, J.J., Karim, S., Alburaki, M. 2023. Honey bee Apis mellifera L. responses to oxidative stress induced by pharmacological and pesticidal compounds. Bee Science. 1:e1275862.

Interpretive Summary: Gene regulation in honey bees operates in a complex manner to alleviate the effect of multiple biotic and abiotic stressors affecting their survival. In this study, we determined the toxicological effects of sublethal doses of pharmacological inducers and pesticides on honey bee as well as the transcriptional response and protein damage caused by oxidative and ER stresses.

Technical Abstract: The western honey bee, Apis mellifera L., is a eusocial insect that plays major roles in ecosystem balances and pollination of plants and food crops. Honey bees face multiple biotic and abiotic stressors, such as pathogens, diseases, chemical pesticides, and climate change, which all contribute to honey bee colony loss. This study investigated the impacts of multiple pharmacological and pesticide molecules on honey bee survival and gene regulation responses. In an 11-day cage experiment, sublethal doses of tunicamycin, thapsigargin, metformin, paraquat, hydrogen peroxide, and imidacloprid were administered to newly emerged sister bees. Daily treatment consumption and mortality were recorded, as well as the transcription expression of twelve major genes (AChE-2, Apisimin, Apidaecin, mrjp1, Sodq, cp450, SelT, SelK, Ire1, Xbp1, Hsc70), some of which are markers of oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stresses in honey bees. At day 9 of the treatments, protein damage was quantified in caged bees. Kaplan-Meier model indicated significant (p < 0.001) toxicological effects of paraquat, H2O2 and tunicamycin on bee survivorship compared to controls with better survivals for other molecules.Post-ingestive aversion responses were recorded only in the case of tunicamycin, hydrogen peroxide and imidacloprid. Nonetheless, significantly higher protein damage on day 9 was only identified in bees exposed to paraquat and imidacloprid. Some antioxidant genes significantly regulated vis-à-vis specific treatments. Our results reveal age-related regulation of other major genes with significant inter-gene positive correlations.