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  • Heat stress during development affects immunocompetence in workers, queens and drones of Africanized honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

Heat stress during development affects immunocompetence in workers, queens and drones of Africanized honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

Journal of thermal biology (2020-05-05)
Rubén G Medina, Robert J Paxton, S M Teresa Hernández-Sotomayor, Cristina Pech-Jiménez, Luis A Medina-Medina, José Javier G Quezada-Euán
ABSTRACT

Though social insects generally seem to have a reduced individual immunoresponse compared to solitary species, the impact of heat stress on that response has not been studied. In the honey bee, the effect of heat stress on reproductives (queens and males/drones) may also vary compared to workers, but this is currently unknown. Here, we quantified the activity of an enzyme linked to the immune response in insects and known to be affected by heat stress in solitary species: phenoloxidase (PO), in workers, queens and drones of Africanized honey bees (AHBs) experimentally subjected to elevated temperatures during the pupal stage. Additionally, we evaluated this marker in individuals experimentally infected with the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. Differences in PO activity were found between sexes and castes, with PO activity generally higher in workers and lower in reproductives. Such differences are associated with the likelihood of exposure to infection and the role of different individuals in the colony. Contrary to our expectation, heat stress did not cause an increase in PO activity equally in all classes of individual. Heat stress during the pupal stage significantly decreased the PO activity of AHB queens, but not that of workers or drones, which more frequently engage in extranidal activity. Experimental infection with Metarhizium anisopliae reduced PO activity in queens and workers, but increased it in drones. Notably, heat stressed workers lived significantly shorter after infection despite exhibiting greater PO activity than queens or drones. We suggest that this discrepancy may be related to trade-offs among immune response cascades in honey bees such as between heat shock proteins and defensin peptides used in microbial defence. Our results provide evidence for complex relationships among humoral immune responses in AHBs and suggest that heat stress could result in a reduced life expectancy of individuals.

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Corning® 96 well NBS Microplate, flat bottom clear, white polystyrene, bag of 5 ×, non-sterile, lid: no
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Pellet pestles, Cordless motor