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Dynamics of Persistent and Acute Deformed Wing Virus Infections in Honey Bees, Apis mellifera

Author(s): Gennaro Di Prisco | Xuan Zhang | Francesco Pennacchio | Emilio Caprio | Jilian Li | Jay D. Evans | Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman | Michele Hamilton | Yan Ping Chen

Journal: Viruses
ISSN 1999-4915

Volume: 3;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 2425;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: bee | viruses | Varroa | vitellogenin | temperature

The dynamics of viruses are critical to our understanding of disease pathogenesis. Using honey bee Deformed wing virus (DWV) as a model, we conducted field and laboratory studies to investigate the roles of abiotic and biotic stress factors as well as host health conditions in dynamics of virus replication in honey bees. The results showed that temperature decline could lead to not only significant decrease in the rate for pupae to emerge as adult bees, but also an increased severity of the virus infection in emerged bees, partly explaining the high levels of winter losses of managed honey bees, Apis mellifera, around the world. By experimentally exposing adult bees with variable levels of parasitic mite Varroa destructor, we showed that the severity of DWV infection was positively correlated with the density and time period of Varroa mite infestation, confirming the role of Varroa mites in virus transmission and activation in honey bees. Further, we showed that host conditions have a significant impact on the outcome of DWV infection as bees that originate from strong colonies resist DWV infection and replication significantly better than bee originating from weak colonies. The information obtained from this study has important implications for enhancing our understanding of host‑pathogen interactions and can be used to develop effective disease control strategies for honey bees.
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