Their study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to identify a single, objective molecular marker of the disorder, and to propose a data-driven hypothesis to explain the mysterious disappearance of American honey bees. The team included researchers from the University of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
U. of I. researchers spearheaded the honey bee genome project, which was completed in October 2006, less than a month before the first reports of colony collapse disorder (CCD) began to circulate. The new study made use of the genome and a genome-based tool, the microarray, to look for differences in gene expression in the guts of healthy honey bees and in those from hives afflicted by CCD.Such microarray analyses normally identify only active genes - those that have been transcribed into messenger RNA in the first stage of building proteins. But Reed Johnson, a University of Illinois doctoral student in entomology and first author on the study, noticed that the microarrays were turning up large quantities of fragmented ribosomal RNA (rRNA) in the bees affected by CCD. Ribosomes are the factories in which proteins are made, but Johnson observed that this rRNA contained adenosine-rich sequences not seen in normal ribosomes. Such "polyadenylation" is believed to be a sign of ribosome degradation.
"They are overrepresented in the CCD bees, significantly overrepresented," Berenbaum said. "The one consistent indicator of CCD across samples collected at multiple times and in multiple places was the overabundance of ribosomal fragments."
When the team looked at the pathogens of healthy bees and bees from hives affected by CCD, they saw that the CCD bees suffered "more than their share" of infections with viruses that attack the ribosome, Berenbaum said. These so-called picorna-like viruses "hijack the ribosome," she said, taking over the cellular machinery to manufacture only viral proteins. The list of picorna-like viruses that afflict honey bees is long and includes Israeli acute paralysis virus, which was once suspected of being the primary cause of CCD.
Numerous suspects have been identified in the hunt for a cause of CCD, from nutritional deficiencies to exposure to genetically modified plants or pesticides. Researchers in Spain recently pointed to a parasitic fungus, Nosema ceranae, which afflicts many CCD bees in Spain.
The loss of ribosomal function would explain many of the phenomena associated with CCD, Berenbaum said.
"If your ribosome is compromised, then you can't respond to pesticides, you can't respond to fungal infections or bacteria or inadequate nutrition because the ribosome is central to the survival of any organism. You need proteins to survive," she said.The varroa mite, which is believed to have killed off a significant number of honey bees after it was accidentally introduced to the U.S. in 1986, is a carrier of picorna-like viruses, and is likely a significant contributor to the high viral pathogen load that afflicts U.S. bees. The mite may act as a tipping factor leading to ribosome breakdown, the researchers said.
This study was supported by the USDA. Berenbaum is also an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois. Robinson directs the Neuroscience Program at Illinois and is a faculty member of IGB.
Diana Yates | University of Illinois
New type of photosynthesis discovered
17.06.2018 | Imperial College London
New ID pictures of conducting polymers discover a surprise ABBA fan
17.06.2018 | University of Warwick
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering