ranscriptional and physiological effects of the pyrethroid deltamethrin and the organophosphate dimethoate in the brain of honey bees (Apis mellifera)
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The pyrethroid deltamethrin and the organophosphate insecticide dimethoate are widely used in agriculture and in urban areas. Both plant protection products (PPPs) unintendedly result in adverse effects in pollinators. Currently, the sublethal effects of both compounds are poorly known, particularly on the molecular and biochemical level. Here we analysed effects of deltamethrin and dimethoate at environmental and sublethal concentrations in honey bee workers by focusing on transcriptional changes of target genes in the brain. In addition, expression of vitellogenin protein and activity of acetylcholinesterase were assessed upon dimethoate exposure to assess physiological effects. Deltamethrin resulted in induction of the cyp9q2 transcript at 0.53 ng/bee, while dimethoate led to induction of vitellogenin on the mRNA and protein level at 2 ng/bee. Transcripts of additional cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases (cyps) and genes related to immune system regulation were not differentially expressed upon PPP exposure. Dimethoate but not deltamethrin led to a strong and concentration-related inhibition of the acetylcholinesterase at 2 and 20 ng/bee. Our data demonstrate that deltamethrin and dimethoate exhibit transcriptional effects at environmental concentrations in the brain of honey bees. Dimethoate also strongly affected physiological traits, which may translate to adverse effects in forager bees.