Transcriptomic responses to diet quality and viral infection in Apis mellifera
ABSTRACT: Purpose: Parts of Europe and the United States have witnessed dramatic losses in commercially managed honey bees over the past decade to what is considered an unsustainable extent. The large-scale loss of honey bees has considerable implications for the agricultural economy because honey bees are one of the leading pollinators of numerous crops. Honey bee declines have been associated with several interactive factors. Poor nutrition and viral infection are two environmental stressors that pose heightened dangers to honey bee health. Methods: We used RNA-sequencing to examine how monofloral diets (Rockrose and Chestnut) and Israeli acute paralysis virus inoculation influence gene expression patterns in honey bees. Results: We found a considerable nutritional response, with almost 2,000 transcripts changing with diet quality. The majority of these genes were over-represented for nutrient signaling (insulin resistance) and immune response (Notch signaling and JaK-STAT pathways). Somewhat unexpectedly, the transcriptomic response to viral infection was fairly limited. We only found 43 transcripts to be differentially expressed, some with known immune functions (argonaute-2), transcriptional regulation, and muscle contraction. We created contrasts to determine if any protective mechanisms of good diet were due to direct effects on immune function (resistance) or indirect effects on energy availability (tolerance). A similar number of resistance and tolerance candidate differentially expressed genes were found, suggesting both processes may play significant roles in dietary buffering from pathogen infection. We also compared the virus main effect in our study (polyandrous colonies) to that obtained in a previous study (single-drone colonies) and verified significant overlap in differential expression despite visualization methods showing differences in the noisiness levels between these two datasets. Conclusions: Through transcriptional contrasts and functional enrichment analysis, we add to evidence of feedbacks between diet and disease in honey bees. We also show that comparing results derived from polyandrous colonies (which are typically more natural) and single-drone colonies (which usually yield more signal) may allow researchers to identify transcriptomic patterns in honey bees that are concurrently less artificial and less noisy. Altogether, we hope this work underlines possible merits of using data visualization techniques and multiple datasets when interpreting RNA-sequencing studies. Overall design: Two factor RNA-sequencing experiment with four treatment groups (Rockrose pollen without IAPV exposure, Chestnut pollen without IAPV exposure, Rockrose pollen with IAPV exposure, and Chestnut pollen with IAPV exposure)
Project description:Background: Honey bee is a major insect used for pollination of a number of commercial crops worldwide. However, the number of managed honey bee colonies has recently declined in several countries, and a number of possible causes are proposed. Although the use of honey bees for pollination can be considered as disruption of the habitat, its effects on honey bees' physiology have never been addressed. In Japan, more than 100 thousands colonies are annually used for pollination, and intriguingly 80% of them are used in greenhouses. Recently, honey bee colonies have often collapsed when they are introduced into greenhouses. Thus, to suppress colony collapses and maintain the number of worker bees in the colonies are essential for successful long-term pollination in greenhouses and recycling honey bee colonies. Honey bee hives were installed into strawberry and eggplant greenhouses, and then the gene expression profiles of the honey bees were examined at the different time periods. Total 16 samples with two replicates were analyzed.
Project description:We studied the molecular mechanisms underlying the impact of pollen nutrients on honey bee (Apis mellifera) health and how those nutrients improve resistance to parasites. Using digital gene expression, we determined the changes in gene expression induced by pollen intake in worker bees parasitized or not by the mites Varroa destructor, known for suppressing immunity and decreasing lifespan of bees. Overall design: bees with or without verroa, and fed or not fed pollen
Project description:E.O. Wilson proposed in Sociobiology that similarities between human and animal societies reflect common mechanistic and evolutionary roots. When introduced in 1975 this controversial hypothesis was beyond science’s ability to test and remains unproven. We used genomic analyses to determine whether superficial behavioral similarities in humans and the highly social honey bee reflect common molecular mechanisms. Here we report that gene expression signatures for individual bees unresponsive to various salient social stimuli are significantly enriched for autism spectrum disorder-related genes. These signatures occur in the mushroom bodies, a high-level integration center of the insect brain. Further, our finding of enrichment was unique to autism spectrum disorders; brain gene expression signatures from other honey bee behaviors do not show this enrichment, nor do data sets from other human behavioral and health conditions. These results demonstrate deep conservation for genes associated with a human social pathology and individual differences in insect social behavior, thus providing an example of how comparative genomics can be used to test sociobiological theory. Overall design: In this experiment, we sequenced a total of 36 mushroom body samples. Seven-day-old worker bees from two single-drone-inseminated (SDI) colonies were chosen for sequencing From each colony, we sequenced the whole transcriptome from the mushroom body of six worker bees from each of three different behavioural types: nurses, guards, and unresponsive bees. Thus, a total of 12 mushroom body samples for each behavioural type and a total of 18 samples from each colony were sequenced.
Project description:We studied the molecular mechanisms underlying the impact of pollen nutrients on honey bee (Apis mellifera) health and how those nutrients improve resistance to parasites. Using digital gene expression, we determined the changes in gene expression induced by pollen intake in worker bees parasitized or not by the mites Varroa destructor, known for suppressing immunity and decreasing lifespan of bees. bees with or without verroa, and fed or not fed pollen
Project description:We used transcriptomics to compare instinctive and learned, reward-based, honey bee behaviors with similar spatio-temporal components: mating flights by males (drones) and time-trained foraging flights by females (workers), respectively. Genome-wide gene expression profiling via RNA sequencing was performed on the mushroom bodies (MB), a region of the brain known for multi-modal sensory integration and responsive to various types of reward. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with the onset of mating (623 genes) were enriched for the Gene Ontology (GO) categories of Transcription, Unfolded Protein Binding, Post-embryonic Development, and Neuron Differentiation. DEGs associated with the onset of foraging (473) were enriched for Lipid Transport, Regulation of Programmed Cell Death, and Actin Cytoskeleton Organization. These results demonstrate that there are fundamental molecular differences between similar instinctive and learned behaviors. In addition, there were 166 genes with strong similarities in expression across the two behaviors -- a statistically significant overlap in gene expression, also seen in Whole Genome Coexpression Network Analysis. This finding indicates that similar instinctive and learned behaviors also share common molecular architecture. This common set of DEGs was enriched for Regulation of RNA Metabolic Process, Transcription Factor Activity, and Response to Ecdysone. These findings provide a starting point for better understanding the relationship between instincts and learned behaviors. In addition, because bees collect food for their colony rather than for themselves, these results also support the idea that altruistic behavior relies, in part, on elements of brain reward systems associated with selfish behavior. Overall design: Mushroom body mRNA-enriched profiles from 48 individual honey bee brains, including 12 active drone bees collected in the afternoon just prior to taking flight, 12 inactive drone bees collected in the morning, 12 active worker bees collected in the afternoon as they prepared to forage, and 12 inactive worker bees collected in the morning
Project description:We analyzed the changes in brain gene expression after alarm pheromone exposure. Bees from single-drone inseminated colonies were exposed to alarm pheromone at the hive entrance and collected 1h after exposure for analysis.
Project description:Experimental infection of (2 days old) adult honey bee workers (30 bees per replicates, 3 replicates per treatments, from 3 different colonies (one colony per cage for each treatment)) with 10^9 genome equivalent of Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV) in 10µl of sugar solution and/or 10^5 fresh Nosema ceranae spores (control bees were given a similar bee extract in PBS, without pathogen). Bees were kept in cages of 30 bees in incubator (30°C/50%RH). At day 13 p.i., bees were flash frozen, and stored at -80°C. Brain mRNA profiles of 15 old bees were generated by deep sequencing, in triplicates except for bees infected by both Nosema ceranae and Black Queen Cell Virus (duplicates)
Project description:Background: Aggression is influenced by individual variation in temperament as well as behavioral plasticity in response to adversity. DNA methylation is stably maintained over time, but also reversible in response to specific environmental conditions, and may thus be a neuromolecular regulator of both of these processes. A previous study reported DNA methylation differences between aggressive Africanized and gentle European honey bees. We investigated whether threat-induced aggression altered DNA methylation profiles in the honey bee brain in response to a behavioral stimulus (aggression-provoking intruder bee or inert control). We sampled five minutes and two hours after stimulus exposure to examine the effect of time on epigenetic profiles of aggression. Results: There were DNA methylation differences between aggressive and control bees for individual cytosine-guanine dinucleotides (CpGs) across the genome. Eighteen individual CpG sites showed significant difference between aggressive and control bees 120 minutes post stimulus. For clusters of CpGs, we report four genomic regions differentially methylated between aggressive and control bees at the 5-minute time point, and 50 regions differentially methylated at the120-minute time point following intruder exposure. Differential methylation occurred at genes involved in neural plasticity, chromatin remodeling and hormone signaling. Additionally, there was a significant overlap of differential methylation with previously published epigenetic differences that distinguish aggressive Africanized and gentle European honey bees, suggesting an evolutionarily conserved use of brain DNA methylation in the regulation of aggression. Lastly, we identified individually statistically suggestive CpGs that as a group were significantly associated with differentially expressed genes underlying aggressive behavior and also co-localize with binding sites of transcription factors involved in neuroplasticity or neurodevelopment. Conclusions: There were DNA methylation differences in the brain associated with response to an intruder. These differences increased in number a few hours after the initial exposure and overlap with previously reported aggression-associated genes and neurobiologically relevant transcription factor binding sites. Many DNA methylation differences that occurred in association with the expression of aggression in real time also exist between Africanized bees and European bees, suggesting an evolutionarily conserved role for epigenetic regulation in aggressive behavior. Overall design: Aggressive and control bees were collected 5 minutes and 120 minutes post interaction with either an intruder bee or inert object
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