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      Honey constituents up-regulate detoxification and immunity genes in the western honey bee Apis mellifera

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          As a managed pollinator, the honey bee Apis mellifera is critical to the American agricultural enterprise. Recent colony losses have thus raised concerns; possible explanations for bee decline include nutritional deficiencies and exposures to pesticides and pathogens. We determined that constituents found in honey, including p-coumaric acid, pinocembrin, and pinobanksin 5-methyl ether, specifically induce detoxification genes. These inducers are primarily found not in nectar but in pollen in the case of p-coumaric acid (a monomer of sporopollenin, the principal constituent of pollen cell walls) and propolis, a resinous material gathered and processed by bees to line wax cells. RNA-seq analysis (massively parallel RNA sequencing) revealed that p-coumaric acid specifically up-regulates all classes of detoxification genes as well as select antimicrobial peptide genes. This up-regulation has functional significance in that that adding p-coumaric acid to a diet of sucrose increases midgut metabolism of coumaphos, a widely used in-hive acaricide, by ∼60%. As a major component of pollen grains, p-coumaric acid is ubiquitous in the natural diet of honey bees and may function as a nutraceutical regulating immune and detoxification processes. The widespread apicultural use of honey substitutes, including high-fructose corn syrup, may thus compromise the ability of honey bees to cope with pesticides and pathogens and contribute to colony losses.

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          Most cited references18

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          Molecular mechanisms of metabolic resistance to synthetic and natural xenobiotics.

          Xenobiotic resistance in insects has evolved predominantly by increasing the metabolic capability of detoxificative systems and/or reducing xenobiotic target site sensitivity. In contrast to the limited range of nucleotide changes that lead to target site insensitivity, many molecular mechanisms lead to enhancements in xenobiotic metabolism. The genomic changes that lead to amplification, overexpression, and coding sequence variation in the three major groups of genes encoding metabolic enzymes, i.e., cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s), esterases, and glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), are the focus of this review. A substantial number of the adaptive genomic changes associated with insecticide resistance that have been characterized to date are transposon mediated. Several lines of evidence suggest that P450 genes involved in insecticide resistance, and perhaps insecticide detoxification genes in general, may share an evolutionary association with genes involved in allelochemical metabolism. Differences in the selective regime imposed by allelochemicals and insecticides may account for the relative importance of regulatory or structural mutations in conferring resistance.
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            High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health

            Background Recent declines in honey bees for crop pollination threaten fruit, nut, vegetable and seed production in the United States. A broad survey of pesticide residues was conducted on samples from migratory and other beekeepers across 23 states, one Canadian province and several agricultural cropping systems during the 2007–08 growing seasons. Methodology/Principal Findings We have used LC/MS-MS and GC/MS to analyze bees and hive matrices for pesticide residues utilizing a modified QuEChERS method. We have found 121 different pesticides and metabolites within 887 wax, pollen, bee and associated hive samples. Almost 60% of the 259 wax and 350 pollen samples contained at least one systemic pesticide, and over 47% had both in-hive acaricides fluvalinate and coumaphos, and chlorothalonil, a widely-used fungicide. In bee pollen were found chlorothalonil at levels up to 99 ppm and the insecticides aldicarb, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos and imidacloprid, fungicides boscalid, captan and myclobutanil, and herbicide pendimethalin at 1 ppm levels. Almost all comb and foundation wax samples (98%) were contaminated with up to 204 and 94 ppm, respectively, of fluvalinate and coumaphos, and lower amounts of amitraz degradates and chlorothalonil, with an average of 6 pesticide detections per sample and a high of 39. There were fewer pesticides found in adults and brood except for those linked with bee kills by permethrin (20 ppm) and fipronil (3.1 ppm). Conclusions/Significance The 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 ppm in bee pollen alone represents a remarkably high level for toxicants in the brood and adult food of this primary pollinator. This represents over half of the maximum individual pesticide incidences ever reported for apiaries. While exposure to many of these neurotoxicants elicits acute and sublethal reductions in honey bee fitness, the effects of these materials in combinations and their direct association with CCD or declining bee health remains to be determined.
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              A deficit of detoxification enzymes: pesticide sensitivity and environmental response in the honeybee

              The honeybee genome has substantially fewer protein coding genes (≈ 11 000 genes) than Drosophila melanogaster (≈ 13 500) and Anopheles gambiae (≈ 14 000). Some of the most marked differences occur in three superfamilies encoding xenobiotic detoxifying enzymes. Specifically there are only about half as many glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) and carboxyl/cholinesterases (CCEs) in the honeybee. This includes 10-fold or greater shortfalls in the numbers of Delta and Epsilon GSTs and CYP4 P450s, members of which clades have been recurrently associated with insecticide resistance in other species. These shortfalls may contribute to the sensitivity of the honeybee to insecticides. On the other hand there are some recent radiations in CYP6, CYP9 and certain CCE clades in A. mellifera that could be associated with the evolution of the hormonal and chemosensory processes underpinning its highly organized eusociality.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                May 28 2013
                May 28 2013
                April 29 2013
                May 28 2013
                : 110
                : 22
                : 8842-8846
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1303884110
                3670375
                23630255
                bd2be199-3e85-4529-85ea-e2b1e21d5c66
                © 2013
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1303884110

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