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J Invertebr Pathol. 2011 Mar;106(3):380-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2010.12.005. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Pathological effects of the microsporidium Nosema ceranae on honey bee queen physiology (Apis mellifera).

Author information

1
INRA, UMR 406 Abeilles et Environnement, Laboratoire Biologie et Protection de l'abeille, Site Agroparc, Domaine Saint-Paul, 84914 Avignon, France. cedric.alaux@avignon.inra.fr

Abstract

Nosema ceranae, a microsporidian parasite originally described in the Asian honey bee Apis cerana, has recently been found to be cross-infective and to also parasitize the European honey bee Apis mellifera. Since this discovery, many studies have attempted to characterize the impact of this parasite in A. mellifera honey bees. Nosema species can infect all colony members, workers, drones and queens, but the pathological effects of this microsporidium has been mainly investigated in workers, despite the prime importance of the queen, who monopolizes the reproduction and regulates the cohesion of the society via pheromones. We therefore analyzed the impact of N. ceranae on queen physiology. We found that infection by N. ceranae did not affect the fat body content (an indicator of energy stores) but did alter the vitellogenin titer (an indicator of fertility and longevity), the total antioxidant capacity and the queen mandibular pheromones, which surprisingly were all significantly increased in Nosema-infected queens. Thus, such physiological changes may impact queen health, leading to changes in pheromone production, that could explain Nosema-induced supersedure (queen replacement).

PMID:
21156180
DOI:
10.1016/j.jip.2010.12.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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