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The honey bee is of paramount importance to humans in both agricultural and ecological settings. Honey bee colonies have suffered from increased attrition in recent years, stemming from complex interacting stresses. Defining common cellular stress responses elicited by these stressors represents a key step in understanding potential synergies. The proteostasis network is a highly conserved network of cellular stress responses involved in maintaining the homeostasis of protein production and function. Here, we have characterized the Heat Shock Response (HSR), one branch of this network, and found that its core components are conserved. In addition, exposing bees to elevated temperatures normally encountered by honey bees during typical activities results in robust HSR induction with increased expression of specific heat shock proteins that was variable across tissues. Surprisingly, we found that heat shock represses multiple immune genes in the abdomen and additionally showed that wounding the cuticle of the abdomen results in decreased expression of multiple HSR genes in proximal and distal tissues. This mutually antagonistic relationship between the HSR and immune activation is unique among invertebrates studied to date and may promote understanding of potential synergistic effects of disparate stresses in this critical pollinator and social insects more broadly.


This article was originally published in Scientific Reports, available at DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-09159-4.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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