The Dynamics of Deformed Wing Virus Concentration and Host Defensive Gene Expression after Varroa Mite Parasitism in Honey Bees, Apis mellifera

Abstract 

The synergistic interactions between the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor and Deformed wing virus (DWV) lead to the reduction in lifespan of the European honey bee Apis mellifera and often have been implicated in colony losses worldwide. However, to date, the underlying processes and mechanisms that form the multipartite interaction between the bee, mite, and virus have not been fully explained. To gain a better understanding of honey bees’ defense response to Varroa mite infestation and DWV infection, the DWV titers and transcription profiles of genes originating from RNAi, immunity, wound response, and homeostatic signaling pathways were monitored over a period of eight days. With respect to DWV, we observed low viral titers at early timepoints that coincided with high levels of Toll pathway transcription factor Dorsal, and its downstream immune effector molecules HymenoptaecinApidaecinAbaecin, and Defensin 1. However, we observed a striking increase in viral titers beginning after two days that coincided with a decrease in Dorsal levels and its corresponding immune effector molecules, and the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) ligase repressor of Dorsal, PIAS3. We observed a similar expression pattern for genes expressing transcripts for the RNA interference (Dicer/Argonaute), wound/homeostatic (Janus Kinase), and tissue growth (Map kinase/Wnt) pathways. Our results demonstrate that on a whole, honey bees are able to mount an immediate, albeit, temporally limited, immune and homeostatic response to Varroa and DWV infections, after which downregulation of these pathways leaves the bee vulnerable to expansive viral replication. The critical insights into the defense response upon Varroa and DWV challenges generated in this study may serve as a solid base for future research on the development of effective and efficient disease management strategies in honey bees. View Full-Text





Source: https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4450/10/1/16

Paul Taylor
More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas

Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services. Our understanding of the extent and underlying causes of this decline is based on the abundance of single species or taxonomic groups only, rather than changes in insect biomass which is more relevant for ecological functioning. Here, we used a standardized protocol to measure total insect biomass using Malaise traps, deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany (96 unique location-year combinations) to infer on the status and trend of local entomofauna. Read more…

Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809

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Paul Taylor
RNA virus spillover from managed honeybees (Apis mellifera) to wild bumblebees (Bombus spp.)


Abstract

The decline of many bumblebee species (Bombus spp.) has been linked to an increased prevalence of pathogens caused by spillover from managed bees. Although poorly understood, RNA viruses are suspected of moving from managed honeybees (Apis mellifera) into wild bumblebees through shared floral resources. We examined if RNA viruses spillover from managed honeybees, the extent to which viruses are replicating within bumblebees, and the role of flowers in transmission. Prevalence and active infections of deformed wing virus (DWV) were higher in bumblebees collected near apiaries and when neighboring honeybees had high infection levels. We found no DWV in bumblebees where honeybee foragers and honeybee apiaries were absent. The prevalence of black queen cell virus (BQCV) was also higher in bumblebees collected near apiaries. Furthermore, we detected viruses on 19% of flowers, all of which were collected within apiaries. Our results corroborate the hypothesis that viruses are spilling over from managed honeybees to wild bumblebees and that flowers may be an important route for transmission.

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Paul Taylor
NYT OpEd: Will Mushrooms Be Magic for Threatened Bees?

Our paradigm shifting research may prove to be a major factor in protecting bees - wild and domesticated - from colony collapse. Moreover, the implications for stopping viral pandemics is obvious once you delve into our research. This new delivery system and the growth of mycelium is highly scalable and ecologically rational.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/opinion/bees-threats-crop-loss-mushrooms.html

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Paul Taylor