A depauperate immune repertoire precedes evolution of sociality in bees

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Seth M Barribeau (Creator)
Mark J Brown (Creator)
Severine D Buechel (Creator)
Kaat Cappelle (Creator)
James C Carolan (Creator)
Olivier Christiaens (Creator)
Thomas J Colgan (Creator)
Louis du Plessis (Creator)
Silvio Erler (Creator)
Jay Evans (Creator)
Sophie Helbing (Creator)
Elke Karaus (Creator)
H M G Lattorff (Creator)
Monika Marxer (Creator)
Mee Marxer (Creator)
Ben M Sadd (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site: http://www.ecu.edu/lib/

Abstract: Background Sociality has many rewards, but can also be dangerous, as high population density and low genetic diversity, common in social insects, is ideal for parasite transmission. Despite this risk, honeybees and other sequenced social insects have far fewer canonical immune genes relative to solitary insects. Social protection from infection, including behavioral responses, may explain this depauperate immune repertoire. Here, based on full genome sequences, we describe the immune repertoire of two ecologically and commercially important bumblebee species that diverged approximately 18 million years ago, the North American Bombus impatiens and European Bombus terrestris. Results We find that the immune systems of these bumblebees, two species of honeybee, and a solitary leafcutting bee, are strikingly similar. Transcriptional assays confirm the expression of many of these genes in an immunological context and more strongly in young queens than males, affirming Bateman’s principle of greater investment in female immunity. We find evidence of positive selection in genes encoding antiviral responses, components of the Toll and JAK/STAT pathways, and serine protease inhibitors in both social and solitary bees. Finally, we detect many genes across pathways that differ in selection between bumblebees and honeybees, or between the social and solitary clades. Conclusions The similarity in immune complement across a gradient of sociality suggests that a reduced immune repertoire predates the evolution of sociality in bees. The differences in selection on immune genes likely reflect divergent pressures exerted by parasites across social contexts.

Additional Information

Genome Biology. 2015 Apr 24;16(1):83
Language: English
Date: 2015
Bombus impatiens, Social behavior, Bumblebees, Immune response, Bombus terrestris, Gene expression, Genetic selection

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A depauperate immune repertoire precedes evolution of sociality in beeshttp://hdl.handle.net/10342/5210The described resource references, cites, or otherwise points to the related resource.