Haemolymph removal by the parasite Varroa destructor can trigger the proliferation of the Deformed Wing Virus in mite infested bees (Apis mellifera), contributing to enhanced pathogen virulence [article]

Desiderato Annoscia, Sam Brown, Gennaro Di Prisco, Emanuele De Paoli, Simone Del Fabbro, Virginia Zanni, David Galbraith, Emilio Caprio, Christina M Grozinger, Francesco Pennacchio, Francesco Nazzi
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
The association between the Deformed Wing Virus and the parasitic mite Varroa destructor has been identified as a major cause of worldwide honey bee 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, in particular, the causes of viral proliferation in mite infested bees. Here we develop and test a novel hypothesis - grounded in
more » ... gical predator-prey theory - that mite feeding destabilizes viral immune control through the removal of both viral 'prey' and immune 'predators', triggering uncontrolled viral replication. Consistent with this hypothesis, we show that experimental removal of increasing volumes of haemolymph from individual bees results in increasing viral densities. In contrast, we find no support for alternative proposed mechanisms of viral expansion via mite immune-suppression or within-host viral evolution. Overall, these results provide a new model for the mechanisms driving pathogen-parasite interactions in bees, which ultimately underpin honey bee health decline and colony losses.
doi:10.1101/257667 fatcat:mj3xg75hj5atxanv52rvgtiiae