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Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 8;7(1):14988. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-15358-w.

Protein nutrition governs within-host race of honey bee pathogens.

Author information

1
Institute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
2
Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt Freiburg (CVUA), Bienengesundheit, 79108, Freiburg i. Br., Germany.
3
Institute for Zoology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
4
Institute of Plant Protection, The Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel.
5
Institute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. peter.neumann@vetsuisse.unibe.ch.
6
Swiss Bee Research Centre, Agroscope, Bern, Switzerland. peter.neumann@vetsuisse.unibe.ch.

Abstract

Multiple infections are common in honey bees, Apis mellifera, but the possible role of nutrition in this regard is poorly understood. Microsporidian infections, which are promoted by protein-fed, can negatively correlate with virus infections, but the role of protein nutrition for the microsporidian-virus interface is unknown. Here, we challenged naturally deformed wing virus - B (DWV-B) infected adult honey bee workers fed with or without pollen ( = protein) in hoarding cages, with the microsporidian Nosema ceranae. Bee mortality was recorded for 14 days and N. ceranae spore loads and DWV-B titers were quantified. Amongst the groups inoculated with N. ceranae, more spores were counted in protein-fed bees. However, N. ceranae infected bees without protein-diet had reduced longevity compared to all other groups. N. ceranae infection had no effect on protein-fed bee's longevity, whereas bees supplied only with sugar-water showed reduced survival. Our data also support that protein-feeding can have a significant negative impact on virus infections in insects. The negative correlation between N. ceranae spore loads and DWV-B titers was stronger expressed in protein-fed hosts. Proteins not only enhance survival of infected hosts, but also significantly shape the microsporidian-virus interface, probably due to increased spore production and enhanced host immunity.

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