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Article

The Gut Microbiota Can Provide Viral Tolerance in the Honey Bee

Department General Zoology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Hoher Weg 8, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Mariano Higes Pascual
Microorganisms 2021, 9(4), 871; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040871
Received: 29 March 2021 / Revised: 14 April 2021 / Accepted: 16 April 2021 / Published: 17 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms in Pollinators: Interactions with Other Factors)
Adult honey bees host a remarkably consistent gut microbial community that is thought to benefit host health and provide protection against parasites and pathogens. Currently, however, we lack experimental evidence for the causal role of the gut microbiota in protecting the Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) against their viral pathogens. Here we set out to fill this knowledge gap by investigating how the gut microbiota modulates the virulence of a major honey bee viral pathogen, deformed wing virus (DWV). We found that, upon oral virus exposure, honey bee survival was significantly increased in bees with an experimentally established normal gut microbiota compared to control bees with a perturbed (dysbiotic) gut microbiota. Interestingly, viral titers were similar in bees with normal gut microbiota and dysbiotic bees, pointing to higher viral tolerance in bees with normal gut microbiota. Taken together, our results provide evidence for a positive role of the gut microbiota for honey bee fitness upon viral infection. We hypothesize that environmental stressors altering honey bee gut microbiota composition, e.g., antibiotics in beekeeping or pesticides in modern agriculture, could interact synergistically with pathogens, leading to negative effects on honey bee health and the epidemiology and impact of their viruses. View Full-Text
Keywords: emerging infectious disease; DWV-B; immune defense; defensive symbiosis; microbiome emerging infectious disease; DWV-B; immune defense; defensive symbiosis; microbiome
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dosch, C.; Manigk, A.; Streicher, T.; Tehel, A.; Paxton, R.J.; Tragust, S. The Gut Microbiota Can Provide Viral Tolerance in the Honey Bee. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 871. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040871

AMA Style

Dosch C, Manigk A, Streicher T, Tehel A, Paxton RJ, Tragust S. The Gut Microbiota Can Provide Viral Tolerance in the Honey Bee. Microorganisms. 2021; 9(4):871. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040871

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dosch, Christopher, Anja Manigk, Tabea Streicher, Anja Tehel, Robert J. Paxton, and Simon Tragust. 2021. "The Gut Microbiota Can Provide Viral Tolerance in the Honey Bee" Microorganisms 9, no. 4: 871. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040871

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