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Superinfection exclusion and the long-term survival of honey bees in Varroa-infested colonies

Mordecai, GJ, Brettell, LE, Martin, SJ, Dixon, D, Jones, IM and Schroeder, DC 2016, 'Superinfection exclusion and the long-term survival of honey bees in Varroa-infested colonies' , The ISME Journal, 10 (5) , pp. 1182-1191.

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Abstract

Over the past 50 years, many millions of European honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies have died as the ectoparasitic mite, Varroa destructor, has spread around the world. Subsequent studies have indicated that the mite’s association with a group of RNA viral pathogens (Deformed Wing Virus, DWV) correlates with colony death. Here, we propose a phenomenon known as superinfection exclusion that provides an explanation of how certain A. mellifera populations have survived, despite Varroa infestation and high DWV loads. Next-generation sequencing has shown that a non-lethal DWV variant ‘type B’ has become established in these colonies and that the lethal ‘type A’ DWV variant fails to persist in the bee population. We propose that this novel stable host-pathogen relationship prevents the accumulation of lethal variants, suggesting that this interaction could be exploited for the development of an effective treatment that minimises colony losses in the future.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: The ISME Journal
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 1751-7362
Related URLs:
Funders: C.B. Dennis British Beekeepers' Research Trust, Biotechnology and Biosciences Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Depositing User: S Rafiq
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2015 12:24
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 10:49
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/36907

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