Free Access
Volume 36, Number 1, January-March 2005
Page(s) 3 - 14
Published online 31 January 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 3-14
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004062

Characterization of a honey bee Toll related receptor gene Am18w and its potential involvement in antimicrobial immune defense

Katherine Aronstein and Eduardo Saldivar

USDA-ARS-KSARC, Beneficial Insects Research Unit, 2413 E. Hwy 83, Building 213, Weslaco, TX 78596, USA

(Received 9 April 2004; Revised and accepted 25 May 2004; Published online: 31 January 2005)

Abstract - Toll receptors are involved in intracellular signal transduction and initiation of insect antimicrobial immune responses. Here we report the isolation and characterization of a novel gene (Am18w) from honey bee Apis mellifera, which encodes for the Toll-like receptor and shares a striking 51.4% similarity with Bombyx mori 18-wheeler, 46.6% with Drosophila Toll-7 receptor and 42.5% with Drosophila 18-wheeler. The sequence analysis of the deduced 18W protein revealed a conserved Toll-Interleukin-Resistance signaling domain (TIR) characteristic of signal transducing receptors found in Toll and mammalian interleukin 1 (IL-1) receptors. The expression profiles of the honey bee Toll-like receptor gene Am18w were examined in all developmental stages, before and after immune challenge. Here we demonstrate that injection of a dsRNA probe into honey bee larvae successfully disrupts the endogenous mRNA of the target gene and allows us to examine the effects of Am18w gene silencing (RNAi) on the expression level of antimicrobial peptides.

Key words: Toll receptor / gene silencing / antimicrobial peptides / immune response / honey bee / Apis mellifera

Corresponding author: Katherine Aronstein

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2005