The association between the deformed wing virus and the parasitic mite Varroa destructor has been identified as a major cause of worldwide honeybee colony losses. The mite acts as a vector of the viral pathogen and can trigger its replication in infected bees. However, the mechanistic details underlying this tripartite interaction are still poorly defined, and, particularly, the causes of viral proliferation in mite-infested bees. Here, we develop and test a novel hypothesis that mite feeding destabilizes viral immune control through the removal of both virus and immune effectors, triggering uncontrolled viral replication. Our hypothesis is grounded on the predator-prey theory developed by Volterra, which predicts prey proliferation when both predators and preys are constantly removed from the system. Consistent with this hypothesis, we show that the experimental removal of increasing volumes of haemolymph from individual bees results in increasing viral densities. By contrast, we do not find consistent support for alternative proposed mechanisms of viral expansion via mite immune suppression or within-host viral evolution. Our results suggest that haemolymph removal plays an important role in the enhanced pathogen virulence observed in the presence of feeding Varroa mites. Overall, these results provide a new model for the mechanisms driving pathogen-parasite interactions in bees, which ultimately underpin honeybee health decline and colony losses.

Haemolymph removal by Varroa mite destabilizes the dynamical interaction between immune effectors and virus in bees, as predicted by Volterra's model

Annoscia, Desiderato;De Paoli, Emanuele;Del Fabbro, Simone;Frizzera, Davide;Zanni, Virginia;Nazzi, Francesco
2019

Abstract

The association between the deformed wing virus and the parasitic mite Varroa destructor has been identified as a major cause of worldwide honeybee colony losses. The mite acts as a vector of the viral pathogen and can trigger its replication in infected bees. However, the mechanistic details underlying this tripartite interaction are still poorly defined, and, particularly, the causes of viral proliferation in mite-infested bees. Here, we develop and test a novel hypothesis that mite feeding destabilizes viral immune control through the removal of both virus and immune effectors, triggering uncontrolled viral replication. Our hypothesis is grounded on the predator-prey theory developed by Volterra, which predicts prey proliferation when both predators and preys are constantly removed from the system. Consistent with this hypothesis, we show that the experimental removal of increasing volumes of haemolymph from individual bees results in increasing viral densities. By contrast, we do not find consistent support for alternative proposed mechanisms of viral expansion via mite immune suppression or within-host viral evolution. Our results suggest that haemolymph removal plays an important role in the enhanced pathogen virulence observed in the presence of feeding Varroa mites. Overall, these results provide a new model for the mechanisms driving pathogen-parasite interactions in bees, which ultimately underpin honeybee health decline and colony losses.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Pubbl. 16_Proc. R. Soc. B 2019.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione Editoriale (PDF)
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 537.43 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
537.43 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1149815
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 31
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 29
social impact