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Impact of the microsporidian Nosema ceranae on the gut epithelium renewal of the honeybee, Apis mellifera

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Johan PanekORCiD


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The invasive microsporidian species, Nosema ceranae, causes nosemosis in honeybees and is suspected to be involved in Western honeybee (Apis mellifera) declines worldwide. The midgut of honeybees is the site of infection; the microsporidium can disturb the functioning of this organ and, thus, the bee physiology. Host defense against pathogens is not limited to resistance (i.e. the immune response) but also involves resilience. This process implies that the host can tolerate and repair damage inflicted by the infection– by the pathogen itself or by an excessive host immune response. Enterocyte damage caused by N. ceranae can be compensated by proliferation of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that are under the control of multiple pathways. In the present study, we investigated the impact of N. ceranae on honeybee epithelium renewal by following the mitotic index of midgut stem cells during a 22-day N. ceranae infection. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunostaining experiments were performed to follow the parasite proliferation/progression in the intestinal tissue, especially in the ISCs as they are key cells for the midgut homeostasis. We also monitored the transcriptomic profile of 7 genes coding for key proteins involved in pathways implicated in the gut epithelium renewal and homeostasis. We have shown for the first time that N. ceranae can negatively alter the gut epithelium renewal rate and disrupt some signaling pathways involved in the gut homeostasis. This alteration is correlated to a reduced longevity of N. ceranae-infected honeybees and we can assume that honeybee susceptibility to N. ceranaecould be due to an impaired ability to repair gut damage.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Panek J, Paris L, Roriz D, Mone A, Dubuffet A, Delbac F, Diogon M, El Alaoui H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology

Year: 2018

Volume: 159

Pages: 121-128

Print publication date: 01/11/2018

Online publication date: 27/09/2018

Acceptance date: 26/09/2018

ISSN (print): 0022-2011

ISSN (electronic): 1096-0805

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.jip.2018.09.007


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