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Differential Gene Expression Associated with Honey Bee Grooming Behavior in Response to Varroa Mites.


ABSTRACT: Honey bee (Apis mellifera) grooming behavior is an important mechanism of resistance against the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. This research was conducted to study associations between grooming behavior and the expression of selected immune, neural, detoxification, developmental and health-related genes. Individual bees tested in a laboratory assay for various levels of grooming behavior in response to V. destructor were also analyzed for gene expression. Intense groomers (IG) were most efficient in that they needed significantly less time to start grooming and fewer grooming attempts to successfully remove mites from their bodies than did light groomers (LG). In addition, the relative abundance of the neurexin-1 mRNA, was significantly higher in IG than in LG, no groomers (NG) or control (bees without mite). The abundance of poly U binding factor kd 68 and cytochrome p450 mRNAs were significantly higher in IG than in control bees. The abundance of hymenoptaecin mRNA was significantly higher in IG than in NG, but it was not different from that of control bees. The abundance of vitellogenin mRNA was not changed by grooming activity. However, the abundance of blue cheese mRNA was significantly reduced in IG compared to LG or NG, but not to control bees. Efficient removal of mites by IG correlated with different gene expression patterns in bees. These results suggest that the level of grooming behavior may be related to the expression pattern of vital honey bee genes. Neurexin-1, in particular, might be useful as a bio-marker for behavioral traits in bees.

SUBMITTER: Hamiduzzaman MM 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5403867 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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