E-MEXP-3708 - Transcription profiling by array of honey bee workers challenged by three different immune stimulants (saline, Sephadex beads and Gram-negative bacteria E. coli)

Released on 2 December 2012, last updated on 3 May 2014
Apis mellifera
Samples (40)
Array (1)
Protocols (7)
BACKGROUND: Social insects, such as honey bees, use molecular, physiological and behavioral responses to combat pathogens and parasites. The honey bee genome contains all of the canonical insect immune response pathways, and several studies have demonstrated that pathogens can activate expression of immune effectors. Honey bees also use behavioral responses, termed social immunity, to collectively defend their hives from pathogens and parasites. These responses include hygienic behavior (where workers remove diseased brood) and allo-grooming (where workers remove ectoparasites from nestmates). We have previously demonstrated that immunostimulation causes changes in the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of workers, which results in altered worker-worker social interactions. Thus, cuticular hydrocarbons may enable workers to identify sick nestmates, and adjust their behavior in response. Here, we test the specificity of behavioral, chemical and genomic responses to immunostimulation by challenging workers with a panel of different immune stimulants (saline, Sephadex beads and Gram-negative bacteria E. coli). RESULTS: While only bacteria-injected bees elicited altered behavioral responses from healthy nestmates compared to controls, all treatments resulted in significant changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Immunostimulation caused significant changes in expression of hundreds of genes, the majority of which have not been identified as members of the canonical immune response pathways. Furthermore, several new candidate genes that may play a role in cuticular hydrocarbon biosynthesis were identified. Finally, we identified common genes regulated by pathogen challenge in honey bees and other insects, suggesting that immune responses are conserved at the molecular level. CONCLUSIONS: These studies suggest that honey bee genomic responses to immunostimulation are substantially broader than expected, and may mediate the behavioral changes associated with social immunity by orchestrating changes in chemical signaling.
Experiment types
transcription profiling by array, co-expression, disease state, dye swap, loop
Effects of immunostimulation on social behavior, chemical communication and genome-wide gene expression in honey bee workers (Apis mellifera).
Investigation descriptionE-MEXP-3708.idf.txt
Sample and data relationshipE-MEXP-3708.sdrf.txt
Raw data (1)E-MEXP-3708.raw.1.zip
Processed data (1)E-MEXP-3708.processed.1.zip
Array designA-MEXP-755.adf.txt