Regulation of genes related to immune signaling and detoxification in Apis mellifera by an inhibitor of histone deacetylation.
The western honeybee (Apis mellifera) is essential for the global economy due to its important role in ecosystems and agriculture as a pollinator of numerous flowering plants and crops. Pesticide abuse has greatly impacted honeybees and caused tremendous loss of honeybee colonies worldwide. The reasons for colony loss remain unclear, but involvement of pesticides and pathogen-pesticide interactions has been hypothesized. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) inhibit the activity of histone acetylase, which causes the hyperacetylation of histone cores and influences gene expression. In this study, sodium butyrate, an HDACi, was used as a dietary supplement for honeybees; after treatment, gene expression profiles were analyzed using quantitative PCR. The results showed that sodium butyrate up-regulated genes involved in anti-pathogen and detoxification pathways. The bioassay results showed that honeybees treated with sodium butyrate were more tolerant to imidacloprid. Additionally, sodium butyrate strengthened the immune response of honeybees to invasions of Nosema ceranae and viral infections. We also performed a bioassay in which honeybees were exposed to pesticides and pathogens. Our results provide additional data regarding the mechanism by which honeybees react to stress and the potential application of HDACis in beekeeping.