Gene expression in bumble bee larvae differs qualitatively between high and low concentration imidacloprid exposure levels

Rubén Martín-Blázquez, Austin C. Calhoun, Ben M. Sadd, Sydney A. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Neonicotinoid pesticides negatively impact bumble bee health, even at sublethal concentrations. Responses to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid have been studied largely at individual adult and colony levels, focusing mostly on behavioral and physiological effects. Data from developing larvae, whose health is critical for colony success, are deficient, particularly at the molecular level where transcriptomes can reveal disruption of fundamental biological pathways. We investigated gene expression of Bombus impatiens larvae exposed through food provisions to two field-realistic imidacloprid concentrations (0.7 and 7.0 ppb). We hypothesized both concentrations would alter gene expression, but the higher concentration would have greater qualitative and quantitative effects. We found 678 genes differentially expressed under both imidacloprid exposures relative to controls, including mitochondrial activity, development, and DNA replication genes. However, more genes were differentially expressed with higher imidacloprid exposure; uniquely differentially expressed genes included starvation response and cuticle genes. The former may partially result from reduced pollen use, monitored to verify food provision use and provide additional context to results. A smaller differentially expressed set only in lower concentration larvae, included neural development and cell growth genes. Our findings show varying molecular consequences under different field-realistic neonicotinoid concentrations, and that even low concentrations may affect fundamental biological processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9415
JournalScientific reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Gene expression in bumble bee larvae differs qualitatively between high and low concentration imidacloprid exposure levels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this