Asymmetrical coexistence of Nosema ceranae and Nosema apis in honey bees

Department of Biology, College of Life Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology (Impact Factor: 2.6). 06/2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.jip.2009.05.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Globalization has provided opportunities for parasites/pathogens to cross geographic boundaries and expand to new hosts. Recent studies showed that Nosema ceranae, originally considered a microsporidian parasite of Eastern honey bees, Apis cerana, is a disease agent of nosemosis in European honey bees, Apis mellifera, along with the resident species, Nosema apis. Further studies indicated that disease caused by N. ceranae in European honey bees is far more prevalent than that caused by N. apis. In order to gain more insight into the epidemiology of Nosema parasitism in honey bees, we conducted studies to investigate infection of Nosema in its original host, Eastern honey bees, using conventional PCR and duplex real time quantitative PCR methods. Our results showed that A. cerana was infected not only with N. ceranae as previously reported [Fries, I., Feng, F., Silva, A.D., Slemenda, S.B., Pieniazek, N.J., 1996. Nosema ceranae n. sp. (Microspora, Nosematidae), morphological and molecular characterization of a microsporidian parasite of the Asian honey bee Apis cerana (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Eur. J. Protistol. 32, 356–365], but also with N. apis. Both microsporidia produced single and mixed infections. Overall and at each location alone, the prevalence of N. ceranae was higher than that of N. apis. In all cases of mixed infections, the number of N. ceranae gene copies (corresponding to the parasite load) significantly out numbered those of N. apis. Phylogenetic analysis based on a variable region of small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSUrRNA) showed four distinct clades of N. apis and five clades of N. ceranae and that geographical distance does not appear to influence the genetic diversity of Nosema populations. The results from this study demonstrated that duplex real-time qPCR assay developed in this study is a valuable tool for quantitative measurement of Nosema and can be used to monitor the progression of microsprodian infections of honey bees in a timely and cost efficient manner.

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    ABSTRACT: Nosema ceranae infection is ubiquitous in western honey bees, Apis mellifera, in the United States and the pathogen has apparently replaced Nosema apis in colonies nationwide. Displacement of N. apis suggests that N. ceranae has competitive advantages but N. ceranae was significantly less infective and less virulent than N. apis in commercially available lineages of honey bees in studies conducted in Illinois and Texas. At 5 days post eclosion, the most susceptible age of adult bees tested, the mean ID50 for N. apis was 359 spores compared to 3217 N. ceranae spores, a nearly 9-fold difference. Infectivity of N. ceranae was also lower than N. apis for 24-h and 14-day worker bees. N. ceranae was less infective than reported in studies using European strains of honey bees, while N. apis infectivity, tested in the same cohort of honey bees, corresponded to results reported globally from 1972 to 2010. Mortality of worker bees was similar for both pathogens at a dosage of 50 spores and was not different from the uninfected controls, but was significantly higher for N. apis than N. ceranae at dosages ⩾500 spores. Our results provide comparisons for evaluating research using different ages of bees and pathogen dosages and clarify some controversies. In addition, comparisons among studies suggest that the mixed lineages of US honey bees may be less susceptible to N. ceranae infections than are European bees or that the US isolates of the pathogen are less infective and less virulent than European isolates.
    Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 10/2014; 124. DOI:10.1016/j.jip.2014.10.006 · 2.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bees are subject to numerous pressures in the modern world. The abundance and diversity of flowers has declined, bees are chronically exposed to cocktails of agrochemicals, and they are simultaneously exposed to novel parasites accidentally spread by humans. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these problems in the future. Stressors do not act in isolation; for example pesticide exposure can impair both detoxification mechanisms and immune responses, rendering bees more susceptible to parasites. It seems certain that chronic exposure to multiple, interacting stressors is driving honey bee colony losses and declines of wild pollinators, but such interactions are not addressed by current regulatory procedures and studying these interactions experimentally poses a major challenge. In the meantime, taking steps to reduce stress on bees would seem prudent; incorporating flower-rich habitat into farmland, reducing pesticide use through adopting more sustainable farming methods, and enforcing effective quarantine measures on bee movements are all practical measures that should be adopted. Effective monitoring of wild pollinator populations is urgently needed to inform management strategies into the future. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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    ABSTRACT: Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are infected by two species of microsporidia: Nosema apis and N. ceranae. Epidemiological evidence indicates that N. ceranae may be replacing N. apis globally in A. mellifera populations, suggesting a potential competitive advantage of N. ceranae. Mixed infections of the two species occur, and little is known about the interactions among the host and the two pathogens that have allowed N. ceranae to become dominant in most geographical areas. We demonstrated that mixed Nosema species infections negatively affected honey bee survival (median survival = 15-17 days) more than single species infections (median survival = 21 days and 20 days for N. apis and N. ceranae, respectively), with median survival of control bees of 27 days. We found similar rates of infection (percentage of bees with active infections after inoculation) for both species in mixed infections, with N. apis having a slightly higher rate (91% compared to 86% for N. ceranae). We observed slightly higher spore counts in bees infected with N. ceranae than in bees infected with N. apis in single microsporidia infections, especially at the midpoint of infection (day 10). Bees with mixed infections of both species had higher spore counts than bees with single infections, but spore counts in mixed infections were highly variable. We did not see a competitive advantage for N. ceranae in mixed infections; N. apis spore counts were either higher or counts were similar for both species and more N. apis spores were produced in 62% of bees inoculated with equal dosages of the two microsporidian species. N. ceranae does not, therefore, appear to have a strong within-host advantage for either infectivity or spore growth, suggesting that direct competition in these worker bee mid-guts is not responsible for its apparent replacement of N. apis. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 12/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jip.2014.12.006 · 2.60 Impact Factor

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