Intricate transmission routes and interactions between picorna-like viruses (Kashmir bee virus and sacbrood virus) with the honeybee host and the parasitic varroa mite

Miaoqing Shen, Liwang Cui, Nancy Ostiguy, Diana Cox-Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

126 Scopus citations

Abstract

Viral diseases of honeybees are a major problem in apiculture, causing serious economic losses worldwide, especially in combination with varroa mites. To increase understanding of the relationship among viruses, mites and colony decline, the tripartite relationships among bees, viruses [Kashmir bee virus (KBV) and sacbrood virus (SBV)] and varroa mites have been investigated systematically. To develop an antibody-based test for KBV, two structural recombinant proteins were purified for polyclonal-antibody production. By using ELISA and RT-PCR, the presence of KBV and SBV was studied comparatively in different developmental stages and castes of bees. The results demonstrated that KBV may persist as a viral genome with extremely low levels of viral-capsid proteins and that KBV and SBV can co-infect honeybees. This study indicated the presence of KBV and SBV RNAs in both queens and eggs by RT-PCR, suggesting a route of transovarial transmission. Horizontal transmission is also very likely among adult bees and from adult workers to larvae through contaminated food resources, because both viruses have been detected in all developmental stages and food sources (brood food, honey, pollen and royal jelly). Furthermore, it was demonstrated that mites were another possible route of horizontal transmission, as both viruses were detected in mites and their saliva. This study, for the first time, detected co-occurrence of viruses in varroa, further underlining the importance of the mites in vectoring different bee viruses. Therefore, these results indicated that multiple infection routes exist for honeybee viral diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2281-2289
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of General Virology
Volume86
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Virology

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