Abstracts (first author)
Cell sacrifice in the gut: an adaptive response towards Nosema spp. infection in honey bees
The microsporidian Nosema ceranae is a natural parasite of the Asian honeybee Apis cerana but is now also a widespread cause of Nosemosis in the European honey bee A. mellifera. N. cerana infections can have severe effects on honey bee fitness at the individual and colony level. We found that the extensive breeding effort by Danish beekeepers against the native microsporidian parasite N. apis has produced a Nosema tolerant honey bee strain, which revealed a strongly up-regulated immune response when challenged by N. cerana infection compared to an unselected strain. After transmission via the fecal-oral route, spores normally germinate in the midgut, where they penetrate, replicate and destroy the cells of the gut epithelium. To understand the effect of the altered immune response on the level of infestation and destruction of the midgut epithelium, we compare sections between the selected and an unselected strain over the course of infection. We discuss these results in the context of an adaptive immune response and other underlying biological mechanisms of the selected strain against N. ceranae infection.