Matching Items (22)

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Hemocyte-mediated phagocytosis differs between honey bee (Apis mellifera) worker castes

Description

Honey bees as other insects rely on the innate immune system for protection against diseases. The innate immune system includes the circulating hemocytes (immune cells) that clear pathogens from hemolymph

Honey bees as other insects rely on the innate immune system for protection against diseases. The innate immune system includes the circulating hemocytes (immune cells) that clear pathogens from hemolymph (blood) by phagocytosis, nodulation or encapsulation. Honey bee hemocyte numbers have been linked to hemolymph levels of vitellogenin. Vitellogenin is a multifunctional protein with immune-supportive functions identified in a range of species, including the honey bee. Hemocyte numbers can increase via mitosis, and this recruitment process can be important for immune system function and maintenance. Here, we tested if hemocyte mediated phagocytosis differs among the physiologically different honey bee worker castes (nurses, foragers and winter bees), and study possible interactions with vitellogenin and hemocyte recruitment. To this end, we adapted phagocytosis assays, which—together with confocal microscopy and flow cytometry—allow qualitative and quantitative assessment of hemocyte performance. We found that nurses are more efficient in phagocytic uptake than both foragers and winter bees. We detected vitellogenin within the hemocytes, and found that winter bees have the highest numbers of vitellogenin-positive hemocytes. Connections between phagocytosis, hemocyte-vitellogenin and mitosis were worker caste dependent. Our results demonstrate that the phagocytic performance of immune cells differs significantly between honey bee worker castes, and support increased immune competence in nurses as compared to forager bees. Our data, moreover, provides support for roles of vitellogenin in hemocyte activity.

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Date Created
  • 2017-09-06

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Cytosine modifications in the honey bee (Apis mellifera) worker genome

Description

Epigenetic changes enable genomes to respond to changes in the environment, such as altered nutrition, activity, or social setting. Epigenetic modifications, thereby, provide a source of phenotypic plasticity in many

Epigenetic changes enable genomes to respond to changes in the environment, such as altered nutrition, activity, or social setting. Epigenetic modifications, thereby, provide a source of phenotypic plasticity in many species. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) uses nutritionally sensitive epigenetic control mechanisms in the development of the royal caste (queens) and the workers. The workers are functionally sterile females that can take on a range of distinct physiological and/or behavioral phenotypes in response to environmental changes. Honey bees have a wide repertoire of epigenetic mechanisms which, as in mammals, include cytosine methylation, hydroxymethylated cytosines, together with the enzymatic machinery responsible for these cytosine modifications. Current data suggests that honey bees provide an excellent system for studying the “social repertoire” of the epigenome. In this review, we elucidate what is known so far about the honey bee epigenome and its mechanisms. Our discussion includes what may distinguish honey bees from other model animals, how the epigenome can influence worker behavioral task separation, and how future studies can answer central questions about the role of the epigenome in social behavior.

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Date Created
  • 2015-02-06

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The Worker Honeybee Fat Body Proteome Is Extensively Remodeled Preceding a Major Life-History Transition

Description

Honeybee workers are essentially sterile female helpers that make up the majority of individuals in a colony. Workers display a marked change in physiology when they transition from in-nest tasks

Honeybee workers are essentially sterile female helpers that make up the majority of individuals in a colony. Workers display a marked change in physiology when they transition from in-nest tasks to foraging. Recent technological advances have made it possible to unravel the metabolic modifications associated with this transition. Previous studies have revealed extensive remodeling of brain, thorax, and hypopharyngeal gland biochemistry. However, data on changes in the abdomen is scarce. To narrow this gap we investigated the proteomic composition of abdominal tissue in the days typically preceding the onset of foraging in honeybee workers.
In order to get a broader representation of possible protein dynamics, we used workers of two genotypes with differences in the age at which they initiate foraging. This approach was combined with RNA interference-mediated downregulation of an insulin/insulin-like signaling component that is central to foraging behavior, the insulin receptor substrate (irs), and with measurements of glucose and lipid levels.
Our data provide new insight into the molecular underpinnings of phenotypic plasticity in the honeybee, invoke parallels with vertebrate metabolism, and support an integrated and irs-dependent association of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism with the transition from in-nest tasks to foraging.

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Date Created
  • 2011-09-28

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Morphometric Identification of Queens, Workers and Intermediates in In Vitro Reared Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)

Description

In vitro rearing is an important and useful tool for honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) studies. However, it often results in intercastes between queens and workers, which are normally are

In vitro rearing is an important and useful tool for honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) studies. However, it often results in intercastes between queens and workers, which are normally are not seen in hive-reared bees, except when larvae older than three days are grafted for queen rearing. Morphological classification (queen versus worker or intercastes) of bees produced by this method can be subjective and generally depends on size differences. Here, we propose an alternative method for caste classification of female honey bees reared in vitro, based on weight at emergence, ovariole number, spermatheca size and size and shape, and features of the head, mandible and basitarsus. Morphological measurements were made with both traditional morphometric and geometric morphometrics techniques. The classifications were performed by principal component analysis, using naturally developed queens and workers as controls. First, the analysis included all the characters. Subsequently, a new analysis was made without the information about ovariole number and spermatheca size. Geometric morphometrics was less dependent on ovariole number and spermatheca information for caste and intercaste identification. This is useful, since acquiring information concerning these reproductive structures requires time-consuming dissection and they are not accessible when abdomens have been removed for molecular assays or in dried specimens. Additionally, geometric morphometrics divided intercastes into more discrete phenotype subsets. We conclude that morphometric geometrics are superior to traditional morphometrics techniques for identification and classification of honey bee castes and intermediates.

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Date Created
  • 2015-04-20

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Transfer of Immunity from Mother to Offspring Is Mediated via Egg-Yolk Protein Vitellogenin

Description

Insect immune systems can recognize specific pathogens and prime offspring immunity. High specificity of immune priming can be achieved when insect females transfer immune elicitors into developing oocytes. The molecular

Insect immune systems can recognize specific pathogens and prime offspring immunity. High specificity of immune priming can be achieved when insect females transfer immune elicitors into developing oocytes. The molecular mechanism behind this transfer has been a mystery. Here, we establish that the egg-yolk protein vitellogenin is the carrier of immune elicitors. Using the honey bee, Apis mellifera, model system, we demonstrate with microscopy and western blotting that vitellogenin binds to bacteria, both Paenibacillus larvae – the gram-positive bacterium causing American foulbrood disease – and to Escherichia coli that represents gram-negative bacteria. Next, we verify that vitellogenin binds to pathogen-associated molecular patterns; lipopolysaccharide, peptidoglycan and zymosan, using surface plasmon resonance. We document that vitellogenin is required for transport of cell-wall pieces of E. coli into eggs by imaging tissue sections. These experiments identify vitellogenin, which is distributed widely in oviparous species, as the carrier of immune-priming signals. This work reveals a molecular explanation for trans-generational immunity in insects and a previously undescribed role for vitellogenin.

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Date Created
  • 2015-07-31

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Gustatory Perception and Fat Body Energy Metabolism Are Jointly Affected by Vitellogenin and Juvenile Hormone in Honey Bees

Description

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) provide a system for studying social and food-related behavior. A caste of workers performs age-related tasks: young bees (nurses) usually feed the brood and other adult

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) provide a system for studying social and food-related behavior. A caste of workers performs age-related tasks: young bees (nurses) usually feed the brood and other adult bees inside the nest, while older bees (foragers) forage outside for pollen, a protein/lipid source, or nectar, a carbohydrate source. The workers' transition from nursing to foraging and their foraging preferences correlate with differences in gustatory perception, metabolic gene expression, and endocrine physiology including the endocrine factors vitellogenin (Vg) and juvenile hormone (JH). However, the understanding of connections among social behavior, energy metabolism, and endocrine factors is incomplete. We used RNA interference (RNAi) to perturb the gene network of Vg and JH to learn more about these connections through effects on gustation, gene transcripts, and physiology. The RNAi perturbation was achieved by single and double knockdown of the genes ultraspiracle (usp) and vg, which encode a putative JH receptor and Vg, respectively. The double knockdown enhanced gustatory perception and elevated hemolymph glucose, trehalose, and JH. We also observed transcriptional responses in insulin like peptide 1 (ilp1), the adipokinetic hormone receptor (AKHR), and cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG, or “foraging gene” Amfor). Our study demonstrates that the Vg–JH regulatory module controls changes in carbohydrate metabolism, but not lipid metabolism, when worker bees shift from nursing to foraging. The module is also placed upstream of ilp1, AKHR, and PKG for the first time. As insulin, adipokinetic hormone (AKH), and PKG pathways influence metabolism and gustation in many animals, we propose that honey bees have conserved pathways in carbohydrate metabolism and conserved connections between energy metabolism and gustatory perception. Thus, perhaps the bee can make general contributions to the understanding of food-related behavior and metabolic disorders.

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Date Created
  • 2012-06-28

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Using Ancient DNA Methods to Examine Dire Wolf Population History

Description

Dire wolves have recently risen to fame as a result of the popular television program Game of Thrones, and thus many viewers know dire wolves as the sigil and loyal

Dire wolves have recently risen to fame as a result of the popular television program Game of Thrones, and thus many viewers know dire wolves as the sigil and loyal companions of the Stark house. Far fewer recognize dire wolves by their scientific name, Canis dirus, or understand the population history of this ‘fearsome wolf’ species that roamed the Americas until the megafaunal mass extinction event of the Late Pleistocene. Although numerous studies have examined the species using morphological and geographical methods, thus far their results have been either inconclusive or contradictory. Remaining questions include the relationships dire wolves share with other members of the Canis genus and the internal structure of their populations. Advancements in ancient DNA recovery methods may make it possible to study dire wolf specimens at the molecular level for the first time and may therefore prove useful in clarifying the answers to these questions. Eighteen dire wolf specimens were collected from across the United States and subjected to ancient DNA extraction, library preparation, amplification and purification, bait preparation and capture, and next-generation sequencing. There was an average of 76.9 unique reads and 5.73% coverage when mapped to the Canis familiaris reference genome in ultraconserved regions of the mitochondrial genome. The results indicate that endogenous ancient DNA was not successfully recovered and perhaps ancient DNA recovery methods have not advanced to the point of retrieving informative amounts of DNA from particularly old, thermally degraded specimens. Nevertheless, the ever-changing nature of ancient DNA research makes it vital to continually test the limitations of the field and suggests that ancient DNA recovery methods will prove useful in illuminating dire wolf population history at some point in the future.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Effects of Olfactory Conditioning on Gustatory Responsiveness in Apis mellifera

Description

In Apis mellifera, gustatory responsiveness to sucrose is a good indicator of learning ability \u2014 in that individuals with high sucrose responsiveness will typically form faster, longer-lasting associations with conditioned

In Apis mellifera, gustatory responsiveness to sucrose is a good indicator of learning ability \u2014 in that individuals with high sucrose responsiveness will typically form faster, longer-lasting associations with conditioned stimulus than individuals with a low sucrose responsiveness. The purpose of this study was to determine whether experience with olfactory conditioning had lasting effects on gustatory responsiveness. Groups were placed in an environment that would facilitate association of an odor to a sucrose reward, tested for retention, then tested for gustatory responsiveness. Control groups underwent the same testing schedule, but were not exposed to odor in the first environment. There was no significant difference in gustatory responsiveness between the two groups. Mann-Whitney tests were used to analyze the results, and though the mean GRS score was lower among the treatment group there was no significant trend, possibly due to small sample sizes.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Testing the Limits of Ethical Issues within the Field of Genetic Counseling

Description

Genetic counseling is a medical field that was established in the 1970s, but whose demand is now growing exponentially due to modern genetic technology. We now have the ability to

Genetic counseling is a medical field that was established in the 1970s, but whose demand is now growing exponentially due to modern genetic technology. We now have the ability to look into the human genetic code, detect the genotype of individuals, and use this knowledge to our benefit. However, Genetic testing results in a need for new ethical boundaries to be drawn. The idea of the "best possible conditions" of conceiving a child and whether this child has a right to not know are the two major ethical issues that will be focused on in order to analyze the ethical boundary that needs to be drawn for genetic counseling. In order to analyze these ethical issues, a focus group of Arizona State University students was organized. After producing results for the focus group, there are no true conclusions that can be drawn that applied to all of society. The focus group sample size was too small to produce a broad range of results and the participants were all Arizona State University Undergraduate students. However, it did become apparent that knowledge on these ethical issues is crucial in order to ensure they do not hinder the field of genetic counseling. It is predicted that in order to have the best outcome for the field of genetic counseling, genetic counselors themselves need to draw the ethical boundaries for the issues studied.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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The Effects of a Pesticide and Maturation on the Honeybee (Apis mellifera) blood-brain barrier

Description

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are pollinators that face multiple challenges during foraging such as fungicides applied to floral sources. Fungicides are chemicals used to inhibit key fungal mechanisms like metabolism, but

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are pollinators that face multiple challenges during foraging such as fungicides applied to floral sources. Fungicides are chemicals used to inhibit key fungal mechanisms like metabolism, but their effects remain relatively unknown in bees. In addition, studying the maturing bee can help us identify demographics that are more vulnerable to toxic materials like fungicides. The purpose of this study is test whether maturation and the fungicide Pristine influence the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Specifically, we use a transportable dye to test how blood brain barrier transporter function responds to toxic insult and how it changes with age. Oral ingestion of Pristine by female workers did not have an effect on blood brain barrier permeability which suggests Pristine may have no or longer term consequences in the bee. However, blood brain barrier permeability changed with the bee's age which could be explained by the regulation of blood brain barrier transporters during natural transitions in hive task or the presence of hemolymph protein filtration

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05