RNA transmission between honeybees and their microbiome

Lecture / Seminar
Time: 15:00-16:00
Location: Nella and Leon Benoziyo Building for Biological Sciences
Lecturer: Dr. Eyal Maori
Organizer: Department of Biomolecular Sciences
Details: Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge
Abstract: Transmissible RNA has emerged as a means of communication between organisms, bot ... Read more Transmissible RNA has emerged as a means of communication between organisms, both within and across different kingdoms of life. Donor organisms transmit long base-paired RNA, tRNA-fragments, and other small RNAs to elicit RNAi responses in recipient individuals, affecting their gene expression and phenotypes. Honeybees offer a unique opportunity to study RNA transmission since they possess a transmissible RNA pathway through which they share RNAs between individuals and across generations via the secretion and ingestion of worker- and royal jelly. We hypothesised that members of the gut microbiome exploit the same pathway and transmit RNA to their honeybee host. We show that RNA originating from a gut-restricted bacterium, Snodgrassella alvi (S. alvi), can be detected in worker- and royal jellies. Endogenous S. alvi RNAs are present also in systemic larval tissues in the absence of bacterial genomic DNA, indicating jelly-mediated microbiome RNA uptake and systemic spread within recipient larvae. Characterisation of transmissible S. alvi RNA reveals enrichment of specific rRNA and tRNA fragments in systemic larval tissues. The transmitted RNA fragments could potentially be involved in RNAi and have the capacity to target honeybee pathogens, such as Nosema and viruses. An expanded transmissible RNA pathway and its potential cooperative roles in honeybee- microbiome interactions will be discussed.
Close abstract