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      Diet effects on honeybee immunocompetence

      1 , 1 , 1 , 1
      Biology Letters
      The Royal Society

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          Abstract

          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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          Most cited references15

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          Amino acids and immune function.

          A deficiency of dietary protein or amino acids has long been known to impair immune function and increase the susceptibility of animals and humans to infectious disease. However, only in the past 15 years have the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms begun to unfold. Protein malnutrition reduces concentrations of most amino acids in plasma. Findings from recent studies indicate an important role for amino acids in immune responses by regulating: (1) the activation of T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, natural killer cells and macrophages; (2) cellular redox state, gene expression and lymphocyte proliferation; and (3) the production of antibodies, cytokines and other cytotoxic substances. Increasing evidence shows that dietary supplementation of specific amino acids to animals and humans with malnutrition and infectious disease enhances the immune status, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality. Arginine, glutamine and cysteine precursors are the best prototypes. Because of a negative impact of imbalance and antagonism among amino acids on nutrient intake and utilisation, care should be exercised in developing effective strategies of enteral or parenteral provision for maximum health benefits. Such measures should be based on knowledge about the biochemistry and physiology of amino acids, their roles in immune responses, nutritional and pathological states of individuals and expected treatment outcomes. New knowledge about the metabolism of amino acids in leucocytes is critical for the development of effective means to prevent and treat immunodeficient diseases. These nutrients hold great promise in improving health and preventing infectious diseases in animals and humans.
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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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              Evolutionary ecology of insect immune defenses.

              Evolutionary ecology seeks to understand the selective reasons for the design features of the immune defense, especially with respect to parasitism. The molecular processes thereby set limitations, such as the failure to recognize an antigen, response specificity, the cost of defense, and the risk of autoimmunity. Sex, resource availability, and interference by parasites also affect a response. In turn, the defense repertoire consists of different kinds of immune responses--constitutive or induced, general or specific--and involves memory and lasting protection. Because the situation often defies intuition, mathematical analysis is typically required to identify the costs and benefits of variation in design, but such studies are few. In all, insect immune defense is much more similar to that of vertebrates than previously thought. In addition, the field is now rapidly becoming revolutionized by molecular data and methods that allow unprecedented access to study evolution in action.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biology Letters
                Biol. Lett.
                The Royal Society
                1744-9561
                1744-957X
                August 23 2010
                January 20 2010
                August 23 2010
                : 6
                : 4
                : 562-565
                Affiliations
                [1 ]INRA, UMR 406 Abeilles et Environnement, Laboratoire Biologie et Protection de l'abeille, Domaine Saint-Paul, 84914 Avignon, France
                Article
                10.1098/rsbl.2009.0986
                2936196
                20089536
                e72eef9a-5831-4b7b-a8a1-c0c184b431c8
                © 2010

                https://royalsociety.org/journals/ethics-policies/data-sharing-mining/

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