skip to main content

Title: Inhibitory effect of indole analogs against Paenibacillus larvae, the causal agent of American foulbrood disease
Abstract Paenibacillus larvae, a Gram-positive bacterium, causes American foulbrood (AFB) in honey bee larvae (Apis mellifera Linnaeus [Hymenoptera: Apidae]). P. larvae spores exit dormancy in the gut of bee larvae, the germinated cells proliferate, and ultimately bacteremia kills the host. Hence, spore germination is a required step for establishing AFB disease. We previously found that P. larvae spores germinate in response to l-tyrosine plus uric acid in vitro. Additionally, we determined that indole and phenol blocked spore germination. In this work, we evaluated the antagonistic effect of 35 indole and phenol analogs and identified strong inhibitors of P. larvae spore germination in vitro. We further tested the most promising candidate, 5-chloroindole, and found that it significantly reduced bacterial proliferation. Finally, feeding artificial worker jelly containing anti-germination compounds to AFB-exposed larvae significantly decreased AFB infection in laboratory-reared honey bee larvae. Together, these results suggest that inhibitors of P. larvae spore germination could provide another method to control AFB.
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Insect Science
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Graf, Joerg (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Fungal pathogens, among other stressors, negatively impact the productivity and population size of honey bees, one of our most important pollinators (1, 2), in particular their brood (larvae and pupae) (3, 4). Understanding the factors that influence disease incidence and prevalence in brood may help us improve colony health and productivity. Here, we examined the capacity of a honey bee-associated bacterium, Bombella apis , to suppress the growth of fungal pathogens and ultimately protect bee brood from infection. Our results showed that strains of B. apis inhibit the growth of two insect fungal pathogens, Beauveria bassiana and Aspergillus flavus , in vitro . This phenotype was recapitulated in vivo ; bee broods supplemented with B. apis were significantly less likely to be infected by A. flavus . Additionally, the presence of B. apis reduced sporulation of A. flavus in the few bees that were infected. Analyses of biosynthetic gene clusters across B. apis strains suggest antifungal candidates, including a type 1 polyketide, terpene, and aryl polyene. Secreted metabolites from B. apis alone were sufficient to suppress fungal growth, supporting the hypothesis that fungal inhibition is mediated by an antifungal metabolite. Together, these data suggest that B. apis can suppressmore »fungal infections in bee brood via secretion of an antifungal metabolite. IMPORTANCE Fungi can play critical roles in host microbiomes (5–7), yet bacterial-fungal interactions are understudied. For insects, fungi are the leading cause of disease (5, 8). In particular, populations of the European honey bee ( Apis mellifera ), an agriculturally and economically critical species, have declined in part due to fungal pathogens. The presence and prevalence of fungal pathogens in honey bees have far-reaching consequences, endangering other species and threatening food security (1, 2, 9). Our research highlights how a bacterial symbiont protects bee brood from fungal infection. Further mechanistic work could lead to the development of new antifungal treatments.« less
  2. In holometabolous insects, larval nutrition affects adult body size, a life history trait with a profound influence on performance and fitness. Individual nutritional components of larval diets are often complex and may interact with one another, necessitating the use of a geometric framework for elucidating nutritional effects. In the honey bee, Apis mellifera, nurse bees provision food to developing larvae, directly moderating growth rates and caste development. However, the eusocial nature of honey bees makes nutritional studies challenging, because diet components cannot be systematically manipulated in the hive. Using in vitro rearing, we investigated the roles and interactions between carbohydrate and protein content on larval survival, growth, and development in A. mellifera. We applied a geometric framework to determine how these two nutritional components interact across nine artificial diets. Honey bees successfully completed larval development under a wide range of protein and carbohydrate contents, with the medium protein (∼5%) diet having the highest survival. Protein and carbohydrate both had significant and non-linear effects on growth rate, with the highest growth rates observed on a medium-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Diet composition did not have a statistically significant effect on development time. These results confirm previous findings that protein and carbohydrate content affectmore »the growth of A. mellifera larvae. However, this study identified an interaction between carbohydrate and protein content that indicates a low-protein, high-carb diet has a negative effect on larval growth and survival. These results imply that worker recruitment in the hive would decline under low protein conditions, even when nectar abundance or honey stores are sufficient.

    « less
  3. ABSTRACT Fungal spores germinate and undergo vegetative growth, leading to either asexual or sexual reproductive dispersal. Previous research has indicated that among developmental regulatory genes, expression is conserved across nutritional environments, whereas pathways for carbon and nitrogen metabolism appear highly responsive—perhaps to accommodate differential nutritive processing. To comprehensively investigate conidial germination and the adaptive life history decision-making underlying these two modes of reproduction, we profiled transcription of Neurospora crassa germinating on two media: synthetic Bird medium, designed to promote asexual reproduction; and a natural maple sap medium, on which both asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction manifest. A later start to germination but faster development was observed on synthetic medium. Metabolic genes exhibited altered expression in response to nutrients—at least 34% of the genes in the genome were significantly downregulated during the first two stages of conidial germination on synthetic medium. Knockouts of genes exhibiting differential expression across development altered germination and growth rates, as well as in one case causing abnormal germination. A consensus Bayesian network of these genes indicated especially tight integration of environmental sensing, asexual and sexual development, and nitrogen metabolism on a natural medium, suggesting that in natural environments, a more dynamic and tentative balance of asexualmore »and sexual development may be typical of N. crassa colonies. IMPORTANCE One of the most remarkable successes of life is its ability to flourish in response to temporally and spatially varying environments. Fungi occupy diverse ecosystems, and their sensitivity to these environmental changes often drives major fungal life history decisions, including the major switch from vegetative growth to asexual or sexual reproduction. Spore germination comprises the first and simplest stage of vegetative growth. We examined the dependence of this early life history on the nutritional environment using genome-wide transcriptomics. We demonstrated that for developmental regulatory genes, expression was generally conserved across nutritional environments, whereas metabolic gene expression was highly labile. The level of activation of developmental genes did depend on current nutrient conditions, as did the modularity of metabolic and developmental response network interactions. This knowledge is critical to the development of future technologies that could manipulate fungal growth for medical, agricultural, or industrial purposes.« less
  4. Goodrich-Blair, H. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT In contrast to the honey bee gut, which is colonized by a few characteristic bacterial clades, the hive of the honey bee is home to a diverse array of microbes, including many lactic acid bacteria (LAB). In this study, we used culture, combined with sequencing, to sample the LAB communities found across hive environments. Specifically, we sought to use network analysis to identify microbial hubs sharing nearly identical operational taxonomic units, evidence which may indicate cooccurrence of bacteria between environments. In the process, we identified interactions between noncore bacterial members ( Fructobacillus and Lactobacillaceae ) and honey bee-specific “core” members. Both Fructobacillus and Lactobacillaceae colonize brood cells, bee bread, and nectar and may serve the role of pioneering species, establishing an environment conducive to the inoculation by honey bee core bacteria. Coculture assays showed that these noncore bacterial members promote the growth of honey bee-specific bacterial species. Specifically, Fructobacillus by-products in spent medium supported the growth of the Firm-5 honey bee-specific clade in vitro . Metabolic characterization of Fructobacillus using carbohydrate utilization assays revealed that this strain is capable of utilizing the simple sugars fructose and glucose, as well as the complex plant carbohydrate lignin. We tested Fructobacillus formore »antibiotic sensitivity and found that this bacterium, which may be important for establishment of the microbiome, is sensitive to the commonly used antibiotic tetracycline. Our results point to the possible significance of “noncore” and environmental microbial community members in the modulation of honey bee microbiome dynamics and suggest that tetracycline use by beekeepers should be limited.« less
  5. Natalie Cooper (Ed.)
    1. Historical datasets can establish a critical baseline of plant–animal interactions for understanding contemporary interactions in the context of global change. Pollen is often incidentally preserved on animals in natural history collections. Techniques for removing pollen from insects have largely been developed for fresh insect specimens or historical specimens with large amounts of pollen on specialized structures. However, many key pollinating insects do not have these specialized structures and thus, there is a need for a method to extract pollen from these small and fragile insects. 2. Here, we propose a precision glycerine jelly swab tool to allow for the precise removal of pollen from old, small and fragile insect specimens. We use this tool to remove pollen from five families of insects collected in the late 1970s. Additionally, we compare our method with four previously published techniques for removing pollen from pinned contemporary specimens. 3. We show the functionality of the precision glycerine jelly swab for removing small quantities of pollen across insect families. We found that across the five methods, all removed pollen; yet, it was clear that some are better suited for fragile specimens. In particular, the traditional glycerine jelly swab and the precision glycerine jelly swabsmore »both performed well for removing pollen from bee faces. The shaking wash resulted in specimen fracture and residue left behind, the ethanol rinses left setae matted, and the glycerol swabbing left residue on the specimen. Additionally, we present photographs documenting the effects of these methods on pinned honey bee specimens. 4. The precision glycerine jelly swab opens up opportunities to sample pollen from a variety of insects in natural history collections. These pollen samples can be incorporated into downstream analyses for pollen identification either via mi-croscopy or DNA sequencing, and the resulting plant–insect interaction data can establish historical baselines for contemporary comparison. Beyond our ap-plication of this method to pollen on insects, this precision glycerine jelly swab tool could be used to explore pollen placement specialization or to sample bryo-phyte, fungal and tree fern spores dispersing on animals.« less