Molecular basis for the virulence of deformed wing virus infections in honey bees

Research area: Molecular Virology

The Deformed wing virus (DWV; order Picornavirales) is a major pathogen of honey bees (Apis mellifera) and responsible for colony collapses. It is hypothesized that virulent emerging DWV strains have evolved from less virulent precursors. In this funding period, we want to decipher the molecular determinants of DWV virulence using combined molecular biological and protein biochemical approaches. Molecular markers of DWV virulence will be elucidated by studying (I) inter-strain recombination, (II) in vivo passaging and adaptation of DWV-B, and (III) the role of the viral leader protein as potential RNAi escape factor. An avirulent DWV-B will be used as a platform to localize the genomic regions responsible for virulence. (I) The series of genetically engineered DWV recombinants will be systematically studied for replication, viral titers, host cell range and virulence in honey bee pupae and primary bee cells. (II) We will passage a DWV-B clone in vivo to study virulence emergence. Responsible mutations will be characterized using reverse genetics. (III) We hypothesize that the leader protein of DWV is an antagonist of the innate immune defense of honey bees and hence a central virulence factor. We will characterize the leader protein of DWV using reporter assays, recombinant cell culture expression, and pull-down experiments to identify the interacting host cell factors. Hopefully, our results will contribute to the establishment of new concepts against the devastating colony losses in beekeeping.

Project-related publications of the investigator:

  • Seitz K, Buczolich K, Dikunova A, Plevka P, Power K, Rumenapf T, Lamp B. 2019. A molecular clone of Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV) causes mortality in honey bee pupae (Apis mellifera). Sci Rep 9:16274.
  • Riedel C, Lamp B, Chen HW, Heimann M, Rumenapf T. 2019. Fluorophore labelled BVDV: a novel tool for the analysis of infection dynamics. Sci Rep 9:5972.
  • Kiesler A, Seitz K, Schwarz L, Buczolich K, Petznek H, Sassu E, Durlinger S, Hogler S, Klang A, Riedel C, Chen HW, Motz M, Kirkland P, Weissenbock H, Ladinig A, Rumenapf T, Lamp B. 2019. Clinical and Serological Evaluation of LINDA Virus Infections in Post-Weaning Piglets. Viruses 11.
  • Schwarz L, Riedel C, Hogler S, Sinn LJ, Voglmayr T, Wochtl B, Dinhopl N, Rebel-Bauder B, Weissenbock H, Ladinig A, Rumenapf T, Lamp B. 2017. Congenital infection with atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV) is associated with disease and viral persistence. Vet Res 48:1.
  • Lamp B, Schwarz L, Hogler S, Riedel C, Sinn L, Rebel-Bauder B, Weissenbock H, Ladinig A, Rumenapf T. 2017. Novel Pestivirus Species in Pigs, Austria, 2015. Emerg Infect Dis 23:1176-1179.
  • Schurischuster S., S. Zambanini, M. Kampel, and B. Lamp*. 2016. Sensor Study for Monitoring Varroa Mites on Honey Bees (Apis mellifera). Proceedings of the Visual observation and analysis of Vertebrate And Insect Behavior, VAIB 5:11,
  • Lamp B, Url A, Seitz K, Eichhorn J, Riedel C, Sinn LJ, Indik S, Koglberger H, Rumenapf T. 2016. Construction and Rescue of a Molecular Clone of Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). PLoS One 11:e0164639.
  • Lamp B, Riedel C, Wentz E, Tortorici MA, Rumenapf T. 2013. Autocatalytic cleavage within classical swine fever virus NS3 leads to a functional separation of protease and helicase. J Virol 87:11872-83.
  • Riedel C, Lamp B, Heimann M, Konig M, Blome S, Moennig V, Schuttler C, Thiel HJ, Rumenapf T. 2012. The core protein of classical Swine Fever virus is dispensable for virus propagation in vitro. PLoS Pathog 8:e1002598.
  • Lamp B, Riedel C, Roman-Sosa G, Heimann M, Jacobi S, Becher P, Thiel HJ, Rumenapf T. 2011. Biosynthesis of classical swine fever virus nonstructural proteins. J Virol 85:3607-20.