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Parasitology. 2011 Apr;138(5):602-8. doi: 10.1017/S0031182011000072. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Salivary secretions from the honeybee mite, Varroa destructor: effects on insect haemocytes and preliminary biochemical characterization.

Author information

  • 1The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, UK. elaine.richards@fera.gsi.gov.uk

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The ectoparasitic honey bee mite Varroa destructor feeds on the haemolymph of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, through a single puncture wound that does not heal but remains open for several days. It was hypothesized that factors in the varroa saliva are responsible for this aberrant wound healing.

METHODS:

An in vitro procedure was developed for collecting salivary gland secretions from V. destructor. Mites were incubated on balls of cotton wool soaked in a tissue culture medium (TC-100), and then induced to spit by topical application of an ethanolic pilocarpine solution.

RESULTS:

Elution of secretions from balls of cotton wool, followed by electrophoretic analysis by SDS-PAGE and electroblotting indicated the presence of at least 15 distinct protein bands, with molecular weights ranging from 130 kDa to <17 kDa. Serial titration of V. destructor salivary secretions in TC-100 followed by an 18-h incubation with haemocytes from the caterpillar, Lacanobia oleracea, indicated that the secretions damage the haemocytes and suppresses their ability to extend pseudopods and form aggregates.

CONCLUSION:

We suggest that these secretions facilitate the ability of V. destructor to feed repeatedly off their bee hosts by suppressing haemocyte-mediated wound healing and plugging responses in the host.

PMID:
21281563
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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