On October 29, 2021, Jonathan Snow, associate professor of biological sciences, published new research in Biomolecules, titled “Proteasome Inhibition Is an Effective Treatment Strategy for Microsporidia Infection in Honey Bees.” Alongside his co-authors, Emily M. Huntsman ‘22, Rachel M. Cho ‘22, Helen V. Kogan ‘19, Nora K. McNamara-Bordewick ‘20, and Robert J. Tomko Jr, a professor at Florida State University, Snow’s research explores the use of proteasome inhibitors as a potential therapeutic strategy for treating Nosema ceranae, a parasite that leads to honey bee mortality and colony collapse.
The researchers hypothesized that targeting the Nosema proteasome would potentially be effective against Nosema ceranae infections. Using a Nosema genome analysis and molecular modeling, the authors predicted that Nosema ceranae would be sensitive to pharmacological disruption of the proteasome at a dose that was tolerable for honey bees. They were then able to demonstrate this using bees in caged infection trials. This research is critical, as honey bees may already be building resistance to Fumagillin, the only current pharmacological control for Nosema ceranae. Proteasome could be a potential candidate for treatment strategy of the microsporidia infection in honey bees.