Transcriptomic investigation of immune responses of the Apis cerana cerana larval gut infected by Ascosphaera apis.


Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100093, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Chalkbrood is the most common fungal disease in honeybees. The objective of this study was to reveal immune responses in the Apis cerana cerana larval gut following Ascosphaera apis invasion. Combining a previously assembled transcriptome of A. c. cerana larval gut and the high-throughput sequencing data obtained in this study, 6152 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were clustered into eight profiles. Trend analysis showed three significant up-regulated profiles (p ≤ 0.05) and three down-regulated profiles. Gene Ontology (GO) term analysis suggested that DEGs within significant up-regulated and down-regulated clusters were enriched in 46 and 38 functional groups, respectively. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis indicated a majority of DEGs were involved in ribosome structure or function, carbon metabolism, biosynthesis of amino acids, and oxidative phosphorylation. In addition, 142 and 14 DEGs were annotated in the cellular immune- and humoral immune-related pathways, respectively. Further investigation indicated that DEGs up-regulated in cellular immune and humoral immune pathways outnumbered those that were down-regulated. Moreover, immune responses of A. c. cerana and Apis mellifera ligustica larvae were compared and studied to decipher resistance of eastern honeybee larvae to A. apis. These results demonstrated that a large number of genes involved in immunity-related pathways were activated by A. apis. Our findings provided valuable information for elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying immune responses of A. c. cerana larvae to A. apis infection and pathogen-host interactions during chalkbrood infection.


Apis cerana cerana,Ascosphaera apis,Chalkbrood,Immune response,Larval gut,Transcriptome,