Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 26, 2006
Publication Date: July 22, 2006
Citation: Chen, Y., Evans, J.D., Feldlaufer, M.F. 2006. Horizontal and vertical transmission of viruses in the honey bee, apis mellifera. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 92:152-159.
Interpretive Summary: Honey bees are important beneficial insects that can be infected by numerous disease agents, including viruses. While parasitic mites have been shown to transmit bee viruses, other routes of transmission could be involved in the overall spread of these viruses. Using molecular techniques, we have detected viruses in various tissues of honey bee queens, indicating a vertical route of virus transmission, where infected queens can transmit virus to their offspring. We also present evidence of a food-borne contamination route of virus transmission. This information is interesting to other researchers involved in virus transmission as it offers an explanation of how viruses can be passed along in the absence of parasitic mites. It also alerts federal agencies that regulate the importation of honey bee queens and other bee products into the United States that these may be the source of virus.
The most crucial stage in the dynamics of virus infections is the mode of virus transmission. In general, transmission of viruses can occur through two pathways: horizontal and vertical transmission. In horizontal transmission, viruses are transmitted among individuals of the same generation, while vertical transmission occurs from mothers to their offspring. Because of its highly organized social structure and crowded population density, the honey bee colony represents a risky environment for the spread of disease infection. Like other plant and animal viruses, bee viruses use different survival strategies, including utilization of both horizontal and vertical routes, to transmit and maintain levels in a host population. In this review, we explore the current knowledge about the honey bee viruses and transmission routes of bee viruses. In addition, different transmission strategies on the persistence and dynamics of host-pathogen interactions are also discussed.