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Colony losses: the impact of endosymbionts on virulence and transmission of mite-associated honeybee viruses

English title Colony losses: the impact of endosymbionts on virulence and transmission of mite-associated honeybee viruses
Applicant Neumann Peter
Number 141006
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Bienengesundheit Vetsuisse Fakultät Universität Bern
Institution of higher education Research Institutes Agroscope - AGS
Main discipline Zoology
Start/End 01.04.2012 - 31.03.2016
Approved amount 387'352.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Zoology
Ecology

Keywords (1)

Apis mellifera, colony losses, endosymbiont, virus

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
In recent years, high inexplicable and sudden losses of managed honeybee colonies have worried beekeepers, the general public and scientists. Current evidence suggests that a key player is the ubiquitous mite, Varroa destructor, an invasive species from Asia, which can transmit or activate honeybee viruses. However, the role of beneficial bacteria in arthropods has been neglected in this regard. Indeed, such bacteria (=endosymbionts) can significantly interfere with both viral transmission and virulence. Here we will evaluate the potential role of such endosymbionts for honeybee colony losses. We expect to find differences in the bacterial and viral communities associated with honeybees and V. destructor mites in susceptible and tolerant host populations. For that purpose, we will genetically screen host and parasite populations using genome wide approaches. Then, experiments in the laboratory will test for causal relationships between the identified endosymbionts and virus virulence as well as transmission using the deformed wing virus (DWV), a well-known and widespread honeybee virus, as a model system. Our study will investigate a potential key to our understanding of major honeybee colony losses. It has a considerable potential not only to fill a significant gap in our knowledge of invertebrate pathology but also to contribute to future apicultural and veterinarian field practice.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Host sharing by the honey bee parasites Lotmaria passim and Nosema ceranae
Manuel Tritschler Gina Retschnig Orlando Yañez Geoffrey R. Williams Peter Neumann (2017), Host sharing by the honey bee parasites Lotmaria passim and Nosema ceranae, in Ecology and Evolution , 7(6), 1850-1857.
Inside Honeybee Hives: Impact of Natural Propolis on the Ectoparasitic Mite Varroa destructor and Viruses
Nora Drescher Alexandra-Maria Klein Peter Neumann Orlando Yañez Nora Drescher (2017), Inside Honeybee Hives: Impact of Natural Propolis on the Ectoparasitic Mite Varroa destructor and Viruses, in Insects , 8(15), 1-18.
Endosymbiotic bacteria in honey bees: Arsenophonus spp. are not transmitted transovarially
Yañez Orlando, Gauthier Laurent, Chantawannakul Panuwan, Neumann Peter (2016), Endosymbiotic bacteria in honey bees: Arsenophonus spp. are not transmitted transovarially, in FEMS Microbiology Letters, fnw147-fnw147.
Potential for virus transfer between the honey bees Apis mellifera and A. cerana
Yañez Orlando, Zheng Huo-Qing, Su Xiao-Ling, Hu Fu-Liang, Neumann Peter, Dietemann Vincent (2016), Potential for virus transfer between the honey bees Apis mellifera and A. cerana, in Journal of Apicultural Research, 54(3), 179-191.
The Honey Bee Pathosphere of Mongolia: European Viruses in Central Asia
Tsevegmid Khaliunaa, Neumann Peter, Yañez Orlando (2016), The Honey Bee Pathosphere of Mongolia: European Viruses in Central Asia, in PLOS ONE, 11(3), e0151164-e0151164.
Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens
Williams Geoffrey, Troxler ALine, Retschnig Gina, Roth Kaspar, Yanez Orlando, Shutler Dave, Neumann Peter, Gauthier Laurent (2015), Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens, in Scientific Reports , 5(14621), 1-7.
First detection of viruses in Africanized honey bees from Peru.
Yañez Orlando, Tejada Graciano, Neumann Peter (2014), First detection of viruses in Africanized honey bees from Peru., in Virologica Sinica, 29(5), 321-3.
Sex-specific differences in pathogen susceptibility in honey bees (Apis mellifera).
Retschnig Gina, Williams Geoffrey R, Mehmann Marion M, Yañez Orlando, de Miranda Joachim R, Neumann Peter (2014), Sex-specific differences in pathogen susceptibility in honey bees (Apis mellifera)., in PloS one, 9(1), 85261-85261.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Panuwan Chantawannakul / Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University Thailand (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Dr. Yves Le Conte / Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Alice Pinto / Polytechnic Institute of Bragança Portugal (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Khaliunaa Tsevegmid / Mongolian State University of Agriculture, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Dr. Bjørn Dahle, University of Ås/Kløfta Norway (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Dr. Graciano Tejada / Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Agraria del Perú Peru (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Resilient honey bees workshop Talk given at a conference The Lord of the Rings: European honey bees surviving varroa by means of natural selection 21.11.2015 Wageningen, Netherlands Neumann Peter;
SUPER-B Workshop Talk given at a conference Standardization of methods 04.04.2015 Halle (Saale), Germany Neumann Peter;
Eurbee 6 Conference Poster The microsporidian Nosema ceranae facilitates Black queen cell virus infection in honey bees 09.09.2014 Murcia, Spain Yanez Amayo Orlando; Neumann Peter;
Eurbee 6 Conference Poster Arsenophonus sp. an endosymbiont of honey bees, Apis mellifera 09.09.2014 Murcia, Spain Neumann Peter; Yanez Amayo Orlando;
Eurbee 6 Conference Poster Reproduction of Varroa destructor affected by virus infections? 09.09.2014 Murcia, Spain Yanez Amayo Orlando; Neumann Peter;
Eurbee 6 Conference Poster Honeybee health in Mongolia 09.09.2014 Murcia, Spain Neumann Peter; Yanez Amayo Orlando;
Eurbee 6 Conference Talk given at a conference Genetic diversity and virulence in the DWV quasi-species 09.09.2014 Murcia, Spain Yanez Amayo Orlando; Neumann Peter;
Eurbee 6 Conference Talk given at a conference GOD SAVE THE QUEEN: Influence of agro-chemicals on honey bee queen physiology and behaviour 09.09.2014 Murcia, Spain Neumann Peter;
Varroa summit, U.S. Department for Agriculture (USDA) Talk given at a conference Varroa biology 18.02.2014 Beltsville, MD, United States of America Neumann Peter;
Apimondia 2013 Conference Talk given at a conference Sex-specific differences of susceptibility to pathogens in the honey bee Apis mellifera 29.09.2013 Kiev, Ukraine Neumann Peter;
Apimondia 2013 Conference Poster Bacteria and viruses in honey bee queens 29.09.2013 Kiev, Ukraine Yanez Amayo Orlando; Neumann Peter;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Beekeeping Spring Convention, Harper Adams University Talk 18.04.2015 Shropshire, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Neumann Peter;
Ausserordentliche Fachtagung der Schweizerischen Bieneninspektoren Talk 17.03.2015 Bern, Switzerland Neumann Peter;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Beekeeping Extension Day, COLOSS 21.10.2015 Lukovica, Slovenia
Training School for Extension Specialists 12.02.2013 Bern, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Transmission of viruses between eastern and western honey bees are rare Science Daily International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media «Junge Imker? Finde ich gut» Der Bund German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: radio, television Bienen im Dauerstress Nano 3SAT, 15.7.2015 International 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienen und Blumen in Gefahr? Fachschaftstagung Biologielehrer Kanton Bern German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienen und Blumen: ist alles noch in Ordnung? Auszubildende Biologielaboranten, Lise-Meitner Schule International 2015
Media relations: radio, television Bienensterben: Forscher finden deutliche Worte SRF 4 news German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Ecosystem services, agriculture and neonicotinoids, EASAC report 26 launch, Brussels, Belgium International 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Informationsstand am Tag der offenen Tür der Vetsuisse Fakultät, Universität Bern, 06.06.2015 German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Was hat die Biene Maja in der Uni Forschung zu suchen? Science Slam, Tag der offenen Tür, Vetsuisse German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Zukünftige Landwirtschaft & Naturschutz erfordern gesunde schweizer Bienen. Dialog am Mittag, Bern Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Bee Health: Current Challenges to a Key Ecosystem Service, SAIN, Vevey German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2014
Media relations: radio, television Berner Bienenforscher widerspricht Einstein Einstein SRF German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienen und Blumen: ist alles noch in Ordnung? Treffen Rotary Club Bern-Christoffel, Bern German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienengesundheit. Wissenschaftscafé, Bern German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienengesundheit. Wissenschaftscafé, Thun German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienenverluste: Warum ist das relevant? Was können wir dagegen tun? Treffen Lions Club, Kriegstetten German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Gesundheit der Bienen: wo stehen wir und was ist jetzt zu tun? Personalabteilung Universität Bern German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Informationsstand an der Nacht der Forschung der Universität Bern, 6.09.2014 Western Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions SCNAT Symposium: Bienen im Fokus von Wissenschaft und Politik, Naturhistorisches Museum Bern German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Status of honeybees in Europe, Ministerial Conference, Maribor and Gornja Radgona, Slovenia International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media The Weaker Sex: Male Honey Bees Are More Susceptible Than Females to a Widespread Intestinal Parasit Science News Line International 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Was ist mit den Bienen los und warum interessiert uns das? Kinder Uni Bern, Bern German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Biene und Blumen: Bestäubung in Gefahr? Casino Gesellschaft Burgdorf Western Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienengesundheit – was ist jetzt zu tun? Mittwochgesellschaft Uitikon, Waldegg German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienengesundheit - wo stehen wir und was ist jetzt zu tun? Naturama Aargau, Aarau German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Bienengesundheit: Bestäubung in Gefahr? Naturforschende Gesellschaft Chur German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions COLOSS: a global approach. SABO, The Big Bee Festival, Swellendam, South Africa International 2013
Media relations: radio, television Ein Professor gegen die Varroa-Milbe SRF German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Stakes of scientific research and European strategy for beekeeping. EU Parliament International 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Honey bee colony losses, University of Liege, Belgium International 2012

Awards

Title Year
Adjunct Professor, Chiang Mai University, Thailand 2015
The Golden Deer Award, Best talk given at the Science Slam, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Switzerland 2015
Academia Europaea Member 2014
Extraordinary Professorship, University of Pretoria, South Africa 2013
Inaugural IBRA Award (International Bee Research Association) 2013
President of the COLOSS association (www.coloss.org) (prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes) that is currently comprised of 778 members from 91 countries 2013
Vice President, Apimondia, Biology Commission 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
147363 Long live the colony: understanding host specificity and tolerance in the honeybee / Varroa spp. system 01.04.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

In Europe, China and the USA, beekeepers are being regularly confronted with severe inexplicable and sudden colony losses, with colonies exhibiting diverse symptoms (incl. CCD = Colony Collapse Disorder). Interactions between the ubiquitous ectoparasitic mite, Varroa destructor and mite-transmitted viruses are most likely key factors. However, although it is known that maternally-inherited, facultative bacterial endosymbionts can significantly interfere with both viral transmission and virulence in arthropods, they have so far been neglected in this context. Here we propose to evaluate the potential role of such endosymbionts for honeybee colony losses. We hypothesize quantitative and/or qualitative differences in the bacterial and viral communities associated with honeybees and V. destructor mites in susceptible and tolerant host populations, which are correlating with individual and colony health status. For that purpose, we will screen host and parasite populations using a metagenomic approach. Then, we will experimentally test for causal relationships between the identified endosymbionts and virus virulence as well as transmission using in-vitro-larval rearing and the omnipresent Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) as a model system. DWV is known to be transmitted by this mite and to reproduce in both bees and mites. Our study will investigate a potential key to our understanding of major honeybee colony losses and has a considerable potential not only to fill a significant gap in our knowledge of invertebrate pathology but also to contribute to future apicultural and veterinarian field practice.
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