The Varroa destructor mite is a devastating parasite of Apis mellifera honeybees. They can cause colonies to collapse by spreading viruses and feeding on the fat reserves of adults and larvae. Amitraz is used to control mites due to its low toxicity to bees; however, the mechanism of bee resistance to amitraz remains unknown. In this study, we found that amitraz and its major metabolite potently activated all four mite octopamine receptors. Behavioral assays using Drosophila null mutants of octopamine receptors identified one receptor subtype Octβ2R as the sole target of amitraz in vivo. We found that thermogenetic activation of octβ2R-expressing neurons mimics amitraz poisoning symptoms in target pests. We next confirmed that the mite Octβ2R was more sensitive to amitraz and its metabolite than the bee Octβ2R in pharmacological assays and transgenic flies. Furthermore, replacement of three bee-specific residues with the counterparts in the mite receptor increased amitraz sensitivity of the bee Octβ2R, indicating that relative insensitivity of their receptor is the major mechanism for honeybees to resist amitraz. The present findings have important implications for resistance management and the design of safer insecticides that selectively target pests while maintaining low toxicity to non-target pollinators.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for all the figures.
- Jia Huang
- Jia Huang
- Jia Huang
- Craig Montell
- Craig Montell
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Sonia Sen, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, India
© 2021, Huang et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Urbanization is rapidly altering Earth’s environments, demanding investigation of the impacts on resident wildlife. Here, we show that urban populations of coyotes (Canis latrans), crested anole lizards (Anolis cristatellus), and white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) acquire gut microbiota constituents found in humans, including gut bacterial lineages associated with urbanization in humans. Comparisons of urban and rural wildlife and human populations revealed significant convergence of gut microbiota among urban populations relative to rural populations. All bacterial lineages overrepresented in urban wildlife relative to rural wildlife and differentially abundant between urban and rural humans were also overrepresented in urban humans relative to rural humans. Remarkably, the bacterial lineage most overrepresented in urban anoles was a Bacteroides sequence variant that was also the most significantly overrepresented in urban human populations. These results indicate parallel effects of urbanization on human and wildlife gut microbiota and suggest spillover of bacteria from humans into wildlife in cities.
Climate warming is releasing carbon from soils around the world, constituting a positive climate feedback. Warming is also causing species to expand their ranges into new ecosystems. Yet, in most ecosystems, whether range expanding species will amplify or buffer expected soil carbon loss is unknown. Here, we used two whole-community transplant experiments and a follow-up glasshouse experiment to determine whether the establishment of herbaceous lowland plants in alpine ecosystems influences soil carbon content under warming. We found that warming (transplantation to low elevation) led to a negligible decrease in alpine soil carbon content, but its effects became significant and 52% ± 31% (mean ± 95% confidence intervals) larger after lowland plants were introduced at low density into the ecosystem. We present evidence that decreases in soil carbon content likely occurred via lowland plants increasing rates of root exudation, soil microbial respiration, and CO2 release under warming. Our findings suggest that warming-induced range expansions of herbaceous plants have the potential to alter climate feedbacks from this system, and that plant range expansions among herbaceous communities may be an overlooked mediator of warming effects on carbon dynamics.