ATP-sensitive inwardly rectifying potassium channel regulation of viral infections in honey bees
O’Neal, Scott T.
Swale, Daniel R.
Anderson, Troy D.
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Honey bees are economically important pollinators of a wide variety of crops that have attracted the attention of both researchers and the public alike due to unusual declines in the numbers of managed colonies in some parts of the world. Viral infections are thought to be a significant factor contributing to these declines, but viruses have proven a challenging pathogen to study in a bee model and interactions between viruses and the bee antiviral immune response remain poorly understood. In the work described here, we have demonstrated the use of flock house virus (FHV) as a model system for virus infection in bees and revealed an important role for the regulation of the bee antiviral immune response by ATP-sensitive inwardly rectifying potassium (KATP) channels. We have shown that treatment with the KATP channel agonist pinacidil increases survival of bees while decreasing viral replication following infection with FHV, whereas treatment with the KATP channel antagonist tolbutamide decreases survival and increases viral replication. Our results suggest that KATP channels provide a significant link between cellular metabolism and the antiviral immune response in bees.