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Honey constituents up-regulate detoxification and immunity genes in the western honey bee Apis mellifera
Wednesday, 2013/05/29 | 08:11:32
  1. Wenfu Maoa,
  2. Mary A. Schulerb, and
  3. May R. Berenbauma,1

 

Author Affiliations

 

1.Departments of aEntomology and
2.bCell and Developmental Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801
 
1.Contributed by May R. Berenbaum, March 21, 2013 (sent for review September 8, 2012)

 

Abstract

 

As a managed pollinator, the honey bee Apis mellifera is critical to the American agricultural enterprise. Recent colony losses have thus raised concerns; possible explanations for bee decline include nutritional deficiencies and exposures to pesticides and pathogens. We determined that constituents found in honey, including p-coumaric acid, pinocembrin, and pinobanksin 5-methyl ether, specifically induce detoxification genes. These inducers are primarily found not in nectar but in pollen in the case of p-coumaric acid (a monomer of sporopollenin, the principal constituent of pollen cell walls) and propolis, a resinous material gathered and processed by bees to line wax cells. RNA-seq analysis (massively parallel RNA sequencing) revealed that p-coumaric acid specifically up-regulates all classes of detoxification genes as well as select antimicrobial peptide genes. This up-regulation has functional significance in that that adding p-coumaric acid to a diet of sucrose increases midgut metabolism of coumaphos, a widely used in-hive acaricide, by ∼60%. As a major component of pollen grains, p-coumaric acid is ubiquitous in the natural diet of honey bees and may function as a nutraceutical regulating immune and detoxification processes. The widespread apicultural use of honey substitutes, including high-fructose corn syrup, may thus compromise the ability of honey bees to cope with pesticides and pathogens and contribute to colony losses.

 

http://www.pnas.org/content/110/22/8842.abstract.html?etoc

PNAS May 28, 2013 vol. 110 no. 22 8842-8846

 

 

 

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