Diseases have a devastating effect on honey bee survival, reproduction, and ability to pollinate agricultural crops. To combat pathogens and parasites, insects evolved effective mechanisms for identifying pathogens and developed an array of strategies for defending themselves against microbial attacks.
Immune response to various microorganisms involves different recognition and signaling pathways. These signaling pathways regulate expression of antimicrobial peptides that are active against Gram-positive and, Gram-negative bacteria and fungi.
The aim of this study is to compare resistance levels of different honey bee strains to highly infectious entomopathogenic bacteria, Paenibacillus larvae and analyze differential expression of antibacterial peptide genes and immune recognition molecules in these honey bee strains. P.larvae is a Gram-positive spore forming bacteria that causes one of the most devastating honey bee diseases, American foulbrood and may result in substantial economic losses to beekeeping industry.
Africanized and European honey bees were challenged with this pathogen by septic injections and brood feeding. Biotinylated nonisotopic DNA probes were generated for several antibacterial peptide genes and differential gene expression was analyzed by Northern Blot hybridization. The findings from these ongoing experiments, and possible involvement of one of the immune response signaling pathways, are discussed.
Species 1: Hymenoptera Apidae Apis mellifera (honey bee)
Species 2: Bacillus Paenibacillaceae Paenibacillus larvae (American foulbrood)
Keywords: immune response, AFB disease
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