Population Genetics of Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae: One Host (Apis mellifera) and Two Different Histories.
ABSTRACT: Two microsporidians are known to infect honey bees: Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae. Whereas population genetics data for the latter have been released in the last few years, such information is still missing for N. apis. Here we analyze the patterns of nucleotide polymorphism at three single-copy loci (PTP2, PTP3 and RPB1) in a collection of Apis mellifera isolates from all over the world, naturally infected either with N. apis (N = 22) or N. ceranae (N = 23), to provide new insights into the genetic diversity, demography and evolution of N. apis, as well as to compare them with evidence from N. ceranae. Neutral variation in N. apis and N. ceranae is of the order of 1%. This amount of diversity suggests that there is no substantial differentiation between the genetic content of the two nuclei present in these parasites, and evidence for genetic recombination provides a putative mechanism for the flow of genetic information between chromosomes. The analysis of the frequency spectrum of neutral variants reveals a significant surplus of low frequency variants, particularly in N. ceranae, and suggests that the populations of the two pathogens are not in mutation-drift equilibrium and that they have experienced a population expansion. Most of the variation in both species occurs within honey bee colonies (between 62%-90% of the total genetic variance), although in N. apis there is evidence for differentiation between parasites isolated from distinct A. mellifera lineages (20%-34% of the total variance), specifically between those collected from lineages A and C (or M). This scenario is consistent with a long-term host-parasite relationship and contrasts with the lack of differentiation observed among host-lineages in N. ceranae (< 4% of the variance), which suggests that the spread of this emergent pathogen throughout the A. mellifera worldwide population is a recent event.
Project description:The microsporidia Nosema ceranae are intracellular parasites that proliferate in the midgut epithelial cells of honey bees (Apis mellifera). To analyze the pathological effects of those microsporidia, we orally infected honey bee workers 7 days after their emergence. Bees were flash frozen 15 days after the infection. Then, the effects on the gut ventriculi were analyzed and compared to non-infected (control) bees. Overall design: Comparisons of control vs Nosema ceranae bees
Project description:BACKGROUND:Nosemosis of European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is present in bee colonies worldwide. Until recently, Nosema apis had been regarded as the causative agent of the disease, that causes heavy economic losses in apicultures. Nosema ceranae is an emerging microsporidian parasite of European honeybees, A. mellifera, but its distribution is not well known. Previously, nosemosis in honeybees in Iran was attributed exclusively to N. apis. METHODS:Six Nosema positive samples (determined from light microscopy of spores) of adult worker bees from one province of Iran (Savadkouh- Mazandaran, northern Iran) were tested to determine Nosema species using previously- developed PCR primers of the 16 S rRNA gene. As it is difficult to distinguish N. ceranae and N. apis morphologically, a PCR assay based on 16 S ribosomal RNA has been used to differentiate N. apis and N. ceranae. RESULTS:Only N. ceranae was found in all samples, indicating that this species present in Iran apiaries. CONCLUSION:This is the first report of N. ceranae in colonies of A. mellifera in Iran. It seems that intensive surveys are needed to determine the distribution and prevalence of N. ceranae in different regions of Iran.
Project description:Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae are the two main microsporidian parasites causing nosematosis in the honey bee Apis mellifera. The aim of the present study is to investigate the presence of Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae in the area of Bulgaria. The 16S (SSU) rDNA gene region was chosen for analysis. A duplex PCR assay was performed on 108 honey bee samples from three different parts of the country (South, North and West Bulgaria). The results showed that the samples from the northern part of the country were with the highest prevalence (77.2%) for Nosema ceranae while those from the mountainous parts (the Rodopa Mountains, South Bulgaria) were with the lowest rate (13.9%). Infection with Nosema apis alone and co-infection N. apis/N. ceranae were not detected in any samples. These findings suggest that Nosema ceranae is the dominant species in the Bulgarian honey bee. It is not known when the introduction of Nosema ceranae in Bulgaria has occurred, but as in the rest of the world, this species has become the dominant one in Bulgarian Apis mellifera. In conclusion, this is the first report for molecular detection of Nosema infection of honey bee in Bulgaria. The results showed that N. ceranae is the main Nosema species in Bulgaria.
Project description:Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) face an increasing number of challenges that in recent years have led to significant economic effects on apiculture, with attendant consequences for agriculture. Nosemosis is a fungal infection of honey bees caused by either Nosema apis or N. ceranae. The putative greater virulence of N. ceranae has spurred interest in understanding how it differs from N. apis. Little is known of effects of N. apis or N. ceranae on honey bee learning and memory. Following a Pavlovian model that relies on the proboscis extension reflex, we compared acquisition learning and long-term memory recall of uninfected (control) honey bees versus those inoculated with N. apis, N. ceranae, or both. We also tested whether spore intensity was associated with variation in learning and memory. Neither learning nor memory differed among treatments. There was no evidence of a relationship between spore intensity and learning, and only limited evidence of a negative effect on memory; this occurred only in the co-inoculation treatment. Our results suggest that if Nosema spp. are contributing to unusually high colony losses in recent years, the mechanism by which they may affect honey bees is probably not related to effects on learning or memory, at least as assessed by the proboscis extension reflex.
Project description:Nosema ceranae infections in honey bees (Apis mellifera) pose a severe threat to colony health. Beekeepers have used dicyclohexylammonium fumagillin to control Nosema apis, although it may be ineffective against N. ceranae. We investigated the ability of various propolis extracts collected from Upstate New York (United States) to decrease in vivo N. ceranae infection levels when fed ad libitum to N. ceranae-infected honey bees. Propolis extracts, most notably a dichloromethane extract, significantly lowered spore levels in a dose-dependent fashion 4 days post inoculation. When testing the in vitro anti-Nosema activity of propolis extracts, we report for the first time that spore viability was unaffected after a 24 h exposure to propolis extracts. These results present evidence that propolis extracts may effectively lower Microsporidia infections in honey bees, and that direct exposure of environmental spores to propolis alone does not kill N. ceranae.
Project description:The microsporidia Nosema ceranae are intracellular parasites that proliferate in the midgut epithelial cells of honey bees (Apis mellifera). To analyze the pathological effects of those microsporidia, we orally infected honey bee workers 7 days after their emergence. Bees were flash frozen 15 days after the infection. Then, the effects on the gut ventriculi were analyzed and compared to non-infected (control) bees. Comparisons of control vs Nosema ceranae bees
Project description:Nosema ceranae is a widespread obligate intracellular parasite of the ventriculus of many species of honey bee (Apis), including the Western honey bee Apis mellifera, in which it may lead to colony death. It can be controlled in A. mellifera by feeding the antibiotic fumagillin to a colony, though this product is toxic to humans and its use has now been banned in many countries, so in beekeeping, there exists a need for alternative and safe products effective against N. ceranae. Honeybees produce propolis from resinous substances collected from plants and use it to protect their nest from parasites and pathogens; propolis is thought to decrease the microbial load of the hive. We hypothesized that propolis might also reduce N. ceranae infection of individual bees and that they might consume propolis as a form of self-medication. To test these hypotheses, we evaluated the effects of an ethanolic extract of propolis administered orally on the longevity and spore load of experimentally N. ceranae-infected worker bees and also tested whether infected bees were more attracted to, and consumed a greater proportion of, a diet containing propolis in comparison to uninfected bees. Propolis extracts and ethanol (solvent control) increased the lifespan of N. ceranae-infected bees, but only propolis extract significantly reduced spore load. Our propolis extract primarily contained derivatives of caffeic acid, ferulic acid, ellagic acid and quercetin. Choice, scan sampling and food consumption tests did not reveal any preference of N. ceranae-infected bees for commercial candy containing propolis. Our research supports the hypothesis that propolis represents an effective and safe product to control N. ceranae but worker bees seem not to use it to self-medicate when infected with this pathogen.
Project description:A multiplex PCR-based method, in which two small-subunit rRNA regions are simultaneously amplified in a single reaction, was designed for parallel detection of honeybee microsporidians (Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae). Each of two pairs of primers exclusively amplified the 16S rRNA targeted gene of a specific microsporidian. The multiplex PCR assay was useful for specific detection of the two species of microsporidians related to bee nosemosis, not only in purified spores but also in honeybee homogenates and in naturally infected bees. The multiplex PCR assay was also able to detect coinfections by the two species. Screening of bee samples from Spain, Switzerland, France, and Germany using the PCR technique revealed a greater presence of N. ceranae than of N. apis in Europe, although both species are widely distributed. From the year 2000 onward, statistically significant differences have been found in the proportions of Nosema spp. spore-positive samples collected between and within years. In the first period examined (1999 to 2002), the smallest number of samples diagnosed as Nosema positive was found during the summer months, showing clear seasonality in the diagnosis, which is characteristic of N. apis. From 2003 onward a change in the tendency resulted in an increase in Nosema-positive samples in all months until 2005, when a total absence of seasonality was detected. A significant causative association between the presence of N. ceranae and hive depopulation clearly indicates that the colonization of Apis mellifera by N. ceranae is related to bee losses.
Project description:Honey bee (Apis mellifera) health has been severely impacted by multiple environmental stressors including parasitic infection, pesticide exposure, and poor nutrition. The decline in bee health is therefore a complex multifactorial problem which requires a holistic investigative approach. Within the exposome paradigm, the combined exposure to the environment, drugs, food, and individuals' internal biochemistry affects health in positive and negative ways. In the context of the exposome, honey bee hive infection with parasites such as Nosema ceranae is also a form of environmental exposure. In this study, we hypothesized that exposure to xenobiotic pesticides and other environmental chemicals increases susceptibility to N. ceranae infection upon incidental exposure to the parasite. We further queried whether these exposures could be linked to changes in conserved metabolic biological pathways. From 30 hives sampled across 10 sites, a total of 2,352 chemical features were found via gas chromatography-time of flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF) in extracts of honey bees collected from each hive. Of these, 20 pesticides were identified and annotated, and found to be significantly associated with N. ceranae infection. We further determined that infected hives were linked to a greater number of xenobiotic exposures, and the relative concentration of the exposures were not linked to the presence of a N. ceranae infection. In the exposome profiles of the bees, we also found chemicals inherent to known biological metabolic pathways of Apis mellifera and identified 9 dysregulated pathways. These findings have led us to posit that for hives exposed to similar chemicals, those that incur multiple, simultaneous xenobiotic stressors have a greater incidence of infection with N. ceranae. Mechanistically, our results suggests the overwhelming nature of these exposures negatively affects the biological functioning of the bee, and could explain how the decline in bee populations is associated with pesticide exposures.
Project description:Nosemosis caused by the microsporidia Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae are among the most common pathologies affecting adult honey bees. N. apis infection has been associated with a reduced lifespan of infected bees and increased winter mortality, and its negative impact on colony strength and productivity has been described in several studies. By contrast, when the effects of nosemosis type C, caused by N. ceranae infection, have been analysed at the colony level, these studies have largely focused on collapse as a response to infection without addressing the potential sub-clinical effects on colony strength and productivity. Given the spread and prevalence of N. ceranae worldwide, we set out here to characterize the sub-clinical and clinical signs of N. ceranae infection on colony strength and productivity. We evaluated the evolution of 50 honey bee colonies naturally infected by Nosema (mainly N. ceranae) over a one year period. Under our experimental conditions, N. ceranae infection was highly pathogenic for honey bee colonies, producing significant reductions in colony size, brood rearing and honey production. These deleterious effects at the colony level may affect beekeeping profitability and have serious consequences on pollination. Further research is necessary to identify possible treatments or beekeeping techniques that will limit the rapid spread of this dangerous emerging disease.