Title: Understanding Cellular Stress in Honey Bees and their Microsporidia Parasites
Abstract: Honey bee colonies have suffered from increased mortality in recent years. Honey bee disease is likely caused by disparate stressors interacting at the cellular and organismal levels. Stressors thought to be involved include nutritional deficiencies, chemical poisoning, large-scale beekeeping practices, climate change, and infection by insect parasites and pathogenic microbes. My research program now focuses on two main questions to help understand the challenges facing honey bee colonies and to generate solutions for use by beekeepers in the field. First, we believe that an important aspect for understanding how the stressors listed above impact honey bees requires defining specific common cellular processes that are impacted by multiple stressors. As cellular stress response pathways provide logical and compelling processes to examine for interactions, the first major research goal of my lab has been to characterize these pathways to define features shared with other species and to elucidate novel elements that provide new insight into how disparate stresses impact honey bee biology. We are now beginning to utilize this information to discover common components to help understand how these pathways and the stresses that induce them interact. Second, we have focused more directly on one stressor, the infection of honey bees by the microsporidia species Nosema ceranae. We have begun to characterize the cellular responses to the same stressors above in this key pathogen of the honey bee. The goal is to uncover elements that are unique to N. ceranae, and thus offer avenues for the development of novel therapeutics that have minimal impacts on the honey bee hosts.
Meeting ID: 936 2403 5803