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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Managing Diseases and Pests of Honey Bees to Improve Queen and Colony Health

Location: Bee Research

Title: Viral dynamics of persistent and acute virus infections in honey bees

Authors
item Di Prisco, Gennaro -
item Zhang, Xuan -
item Pennacchio, Francesco -
item Caprio, Emillio -
item Li, Jilian -
item Evans, Jay
item Degrandi-Hoffman, Gloria
item Hamilton, Michele
item Chen, Yanping

Submitted to: Viruses
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 2011
Publication Date: December 15, 2011
Citation: Di Prisco, G., Zhang, X., Pennacchio, F., Caprio, E., Li, J., Evans, J.D., Hoffman, G.D., Hamilton, M.C., Chen, Y. 2011. Viral dynamics of persistent and acute virus infections in honey bees. Viruses. 3:2425-2441.

Interpretive Summary: The dynamics of viruses are critical to our understanding of disease mechanisms and can be used for developing effective disease control strategies. We conducted studies to investigate the environmental and host conditions on the dynamics of a honey bee virus infection. Our results showed that honey bee host conditions and stress factors that are involved in the host’s vulnerability to infection play a key role in how viruses replicate themselves. The findings from this study have important implications for enhancing our understanding of host-pathogen interactions and suggest that beekeeping management practices should focus on minimizing stress as much as possible to keep colonies healthy and strong. The information obtained from this study can be used by scientists and apiary inspectors to monitor honey bee for viruses to prevent the spread of viral diseases.

Technical Abstract: The dynamics of viruses are critical to our understanding of disease pathogenesis. Using honey bee Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) as a model, we conducted field and laboratory studies to investigate the roles of abiotic and biotic stress factors as well as host health conditions in dynamics of virus replication in honey bees. The results showed that temperature decline could lead to not only significant decrease in the rate for pupae to emerge as adult bees, but also an increased severity of the virus infection in emerged bees, partly explaining the high levels of winter losses of managed honey bees, Apis mellifera, around the world. By experimentally exposing adult bees with variable levels of parasitic mites Varroa destructor, we showed that the severity of DWV infection was positively correlated with the density and time period of Varroa mite infestation, confirming the role of Varroa mites in virus transmission and activation in honey bees. Further, we showed that host conditions have a significant impact on the outcome of DWV infection as bees that originate from strong colonies resist DWV infection and replication significantly better than bee originating from weak colonies. The information obtained from this study has important implications for enhancing our understanding of host-pathogen interactions and can be used to develop effective disease control strategies for honey bees.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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