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Journal Article (Refereed)
January 2013

Do the honeybee pathogens Nosema ceranae and deformed wing virus act synergistically?

Martin, S 2013, 'Do the honeybee pathogens Nosema ceranae and deformed wing virus act synergistically?', Environmental Microbiology Reports.


The honeybee pathogens Nosema ceranae and
deformed wing virus (DWV) cause the collapse of
honeybee colonies. Therefore, it is plausible that
these two pathogens act synergistically to increase
colony losses, since N. ceranae causes damage to
the mid-gut epithelial ventricular cells and actively
suppresses the honeybees’ immune response, either
of which could increase the virulence of viral pathogens
within the bee. To test this hypothesis we
exploited 322 Hawaiian honeybee colonies for which
DWV prevalence and load is known. We determined
via PCR that N. ceranae was present in 89–95% of
these colonies, with no Nosema apis being detected.
We found no significant difference in spore counts in
colonies infected with DWV and those in which DWV
was not detected, either on any of the four islands or
across the entire honeybee population. Furthermore,
no significant correlation between DWV loads (DCT
levels) and N. ceranae spore counts was found, so
these two pathogens are not acting synergistically.
Although the Hawaiian honeybees have the highest
known prevalence of N. ceranae in the world, with
average number of spores been 2.7 million per bee,
no acute Nosema related problems i.e. large-scale
colony deaths, have been reported by Hawaiian


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Publication Details

Journal Name
Environmental Microbiology Reports