Foodborne Transmission of Deformed Wing Virus to Ants (Myrmica rubra)

Schläppi, Daniel; Lattrell, Patrick; Yañez, Orlando; Chejanovsky, Nor; Neumann, Peter (2019). Foodborne Transmission of Deformed Wing Virus to Ants (Myrmica rubra). Insects, 10(11) MDPI 10.3390/insects10110394

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Virus host shifts occur frequently, but the whole range of host species and the actual transmission pathways are often poorly understood. Deformed wing virus (DWV), an RNA virus described from honeybees (Apis mellifera), has been shown to have a broad host range. Since ants are often scavenging on dead honeybees, foodborne transmission of these viruses may occur. However, the role of the ant Myrmica rubra as an alternative host is not known and foodborne transmission to ants has not been experimentally addressed yet. Here, we show with a 16-week feeding experiment that foodborne transmission enables DWV type-A and -B to infect M. rubra and that these ants may serve as a virus reservoir. However, the titers of both plus- and minus-sense viral RNA strands decreased over time. Since the ants were fed with highly virus-saturated honeybee pupae, this probably resulted in initial viral peaks, then approaching lower equilibrium titers in infected individuals later. Since DWV infections were also found in untreated field-collected M. rubra colonies, our results support the wide host range of DWV and further suggest foodborne transmission as a so far underestimated spread mechanism.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Bee Health

UniBE Contributor:

Schläppi, Daniel; Yanez Amayo, Victor Orlando and Neumann, Peter

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2075-4450

Publisher:

MDPI

Language:

English

Submitter:

Anna Papach

Date Deposited:

31 Mar 2020 13:49

Last Modified:

31 Mar 2020 13:49

Publisher DOI:

10.3390/insects10110394

PubMed ID:

31703426

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.142083

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/142083

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