Original article

Apidologie

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 248-256

Four quantitative trait loci associated with low Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia) spore load in the honeybee Apis mellifera

  • Qiang HuangAffiliated withInstitut für Biology/Zoologie, Molekulare Ökologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergHoneybee Research Institute, Jiangxi Agricultural University Email author 
  • , Per KrygerAffiliated withDepartment of Agroecology, Section of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Aarhus University
  • , Yves Le ConteAffiliated withINRA, UR 406 Abeilles et Environnement, Laboratoire de Biologie et Protection de l’abeille
  • , H. Michael G. LattorffAffiliated withInstitut für Biology/Zoologie, Molekulare Ökologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergInstitut für Biology/Zoologie, Tierphysiologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle -Wittenberg
  • , F. Bernhard KrausAffiliated withInstitut für Biology/Zoologie, Molekulare Ökologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergDepartment of Laboratory Medicine, University Hospital Halle (Saale)
  • , Robin F. A. MoritzAffiliated withInstitut für Biology/Zoologie, Molekulare Ökologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergRoBeeTech, Universitatea de Stiinte Agricole si Medicina Vetereinaria Cluj-NapocaDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria

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Abstract

Nosema ceranae has been recently introduced into the honeybee Apis mellifera as a novel microsporidian gut parasite. To locate the genetic region involved in N. ceranae infection tolerance, we fed N. ceranae spores to haploid drones of a F1 hybrid queen produced from a cross between a queen of a Nosema-resistant bred strain and drones of susceptible colonies. The spore loads of the infected F1 drones were used as the phenotype to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with N. ceranae spore load. One hundred forty-eight infected drones were individually genotyped with microsatellite markers at an average marker distance of 20 cM along the genome. Four QTLs were significantly associated with low spore load, explaining 20.4 % of total spore load variance. Moreover, a candidate gene Aubergine (Aub) within the major QTL region was significantly overexpressed in drones with low spore loads than in those with high spore loads. Our results confirm the genetic basis of Nosema tolerance in the selected strain and show that both additive effects and epistatic interactions among the QTLs interfere with the tested phenotype.

Keywords

Apis mellifera drone Nosema QTL