• innate immunity;
  • NF-κB-like transcription factor;
  • IMD pathway;
  • RNA interference;
  • quantitative PCR


Relationships of immune genes in adult honeybees (Apis mellifera) were investigated using RNA interference (RNAi). Quantitative RT-PCR was applied to estimate gene expression and the extent of gene silencing. Relish is a transcription factor and forms an important part of the IMD signalling pathway. The expression of the immune gene Relish was significantly reduced by RNAi (ca. 70%). The proposed regulation of antimicrobial peptide genes by Relish could be established for abaecin and hymenoptaecin. These two genes showed a reduction in gene expression to the same extent as Relish. However, the antimicrobial peptide gene defensin-1 was not affected which suggests defensin-1 is regulated by a different signalling pathway.