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      The Wisdom of Honeybee Defenses Against Environmental Stresses

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          Abstract

          As one of the predominant pollinator, honeybees provide important ecosystem service to crops and wild plants, and generate great economic benefit for humans. Unfortunately, there is clear evidence of recent catastrophic honeybee colony failure in some areas, resulting in markedly negative environmental and economic effects. It has been demonstrated that various environmental stresses, including both abiotic and biotic stresses, functioning singly or synergistically, are the potential drivers of colony collapse. Honeybees can use many defense mechanisms to decrease the damage from environmental stress to some extent. Here, we synthesize and summarize recent advances regarding the effects of environmental stress on honeybees and the wisdom of honeybees to respond to external environmental stress. Furthermore, we provide possible future research directions about the response of honeybees to various form of stressors.

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          Most cited references 132

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          Immune pathways and defence mechanisms in honey bees Apis mellifera

          Social insects are able to mount both group-level and individual defences against pathogens. Here we focus on individual defences, by presenting a genome-wide analysis of immunity in a social insect, the honey bee Apis mellifera. We present honey bee models for each of four signalling pathways associated with immunity, identifying plausible orthologues for nearly all predicted pathway members. When compared to the sequenced Drosophila and Anopheles genomes, honey bees possess roughly one-third as many genes in 17 gene families implicated in insect immunity. We suggest that an implied reduction in immune flexibility in bees reflects either the strength of social barriers to disease, or a tendency for bees to be attacked by a limited set of highly coevolved pathogens.
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            Social immunity.

            Social insect colonies have evolved collective immune defences against parasites. These 'social immune systems' result from the cooperation of the individual group members to combat the increased risk of disease transmission that arises from sociality and group living. In this review we illustrate the pathways that parasites can take to infect a social insect colony and use these pathways as a framework to predict colony defence mechanisms and present the existing evidence. We find that the collective defences can be both prophylactic and activated on demand and consist of behavioural, physiological and organisational adaptations of the colony that prevent parasite entrance, establishment and spread. We discuss the regulation of collective immunity, which requires complex integration of information about both the parasites and the internal status of the insect colony. Our review concludes with an examination of the evolution of social immunity, which is based on the consequences of selection at both the individual and the colony level.
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              Diet effects on honeybee immunocompetence.

              The maintenance of the immune system can be costly, and a lack of dietary protein can increase the susceptibility of organisms to disease. However, few studies have investigated the relationship between protein nutrition and immunity in insects. Here, we tested in honeybees (Apis mellifera) whether dietary protein quantity (monofloral pollen) and diet diversity (polyfloral pollen) can shape baseline immunocompetence (IC) by measuring parameters of individual immunity (haemocyte concentration, fat body content and phenoloxidase activity) and glucose oxidase (GOX) activity, which enables bees to sterilize colony and brood food, as a parameter of social immunity. Protein feeding modified both individual and social IC but increases in dietary protein quantity did not enhance IC. However, diet diversity increased IC levels. In particular, polyfloral diets induced higher GOX activity compared with monofloral diets, including protein-richer diets. These results suggest a link between protein nutrition and immunity in honeybees and underscore the critical role of resource availability on pollinator health.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-302X
                01 May 2018
                2018
                : 9
                Affiliations
                1State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University , Tai'an, China
                2College of Animal Science and Technology, Shandong Agricultural University , Tai'an, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Thomas Dandekar, Universität Würzburg, Germany

                Reviewed by: Jürgen Tautz, Universität Würzburg, Germany; Ranran Zhang, University of Wisconsin Health, United States

                *Correspondence: Baohua Xu bhxu@ 123456sdau.edu.cn

                This article was submitted to Infectious Diseases, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Article
                10.3389/fmicb.2018.00722
                5938604
                Copyright © 2018 Li, Zhao, Liu, Wang, Xu and Guo.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 163, Pages: 15, Words: 11783
                Categories
                Microbiology
                Review

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