Virus and dsRNA-triggered transcriptional responses reveal key components of honey bee antiviral defense
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Recent high annual losses of honey bee colonies are associated with many factors, including RNA virus infections. Honey bee antiviral responses include RNA interference and immune pathway activation, but their relative roles in antiviral defense are not well understood. To better characterize the mechanism(s) of honey bee antiviral defense, bees were infected with a model virus in the presence or absence of dsRNA, a virus associated molecular pattern. Regardless of sequence specificity, dsRNA reduced virus abundance. We utilized next generation sequencing to examine transcriptional responses triggered by virus and dsRNA at three time-points post-infection. Hundreds of genes exhibited differential expression in response to co-treatment of dsRNA and virus. Virus-infected bees had greater expression of genes involved in RNAi, Toll, Imd, and JAK-STAT pathways, but the majority of differentially expressed genes are not well characterized. To confirm the virus limiting role of two genes, including the well-characterized gene, dicer, and a probable uncharacterized cyclin dependent kinase in honey bees, we utilized RNAi to reduce their expression in vivo and determined that virus abundance increased, supporting their involvement in antiviral defense. Together, these results further our understanding of honey bee antiviral defense, particularly the role of a non-sequence specific dsRNA-mediated antiviral pathway.
Brutscher, Laura M. , Katie F. Daughenbaugh, and Michelle L. Flenniken. "Virus and dsRNA-triggered transcriptional responses reveal key components of honey bee antiviral defense." Scientific Reports 7 (July 2017). DOI:https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-06623-z.