Matching Items (11)

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Ecdysone Effect on Hypopharyngeal Glands and Ovarioles in Adult Worker Bees (Apis mellifera)

Description

Division of labor is a hallmark for social insects and is closely related to honey bee morphology and physiology. Vitellogenin (Vg), a precursor protein in insect egg yolk, has several

Division of labor is a hallmark for social insects and is closely related to honey bee morphology and physiology. Vitellogenin (Vg), a precursor protein in insect egg yolk, has several known functions apart from serving as a nutrient source for developing eggs. Vg is a component in the royal jelly produced in the hypopharyngeal glands (HPG) of worker bees which is used to feed both the developing brood and the queen. The HPG is closely associated with divisions of labor as the peak in its development corresponds with the nursing behavior. Independent of the connection between Vg and the HPG, Vg has been seen to play a fundamental role in divisions of labor by affecting worker gustatory responses, age of onset of foraging, and foraging preferences. Similar to Vg, the number of ovarioles in worker ovaries is also associated with division of labor as bees with more ovarioles tend to finish tasks in the hive and become foragers faster. This experiment aims to connect HPGs, ovaries, and Vg by proposing a link between them in the form of ecdysone (20E). 20E is a hormone produced by the ovaries and is linked to ovary development and Vg by tyramine titers. By treating young emerged bees with ecdysone and measuring HPG and ovary development over a trial period, this experiment seeks to determine whether 20E affects division of labor through Vg. We found that though the stress of injection caused a significant decrease in development of both the ovaries and HPG, there was no discernable effect of 20E on either of these organs.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Genotype effect on lifespan following vitellogenin knockdown

Description

Honey bee workers display remarkable flexibility in the aging process. This plasticity is closely tied to behavioral maturation. Workers who initiate foraging behavior at earlier ages have shorter lifespans, and

Honey bee workers display remarkable flexibility in the aging process. This plasticity is closely tied to behavioral maturation. Workers who initiate foraging behavior at earlier ages have shorter lifespans, and much of the variation in total lifespan can be explained by differences in pre-foraging lifespan. Vitellogenin (Vg), a yolk precursor protein, influences worker lifespan both as a regulator of behavioral maturation and through anti-oxidant and immune functions. Experimental reduction of Vg mRNA, and thus Vg protein levels, in wild-type bees results in precocious foraging behavior, decreased lifespan, and increased susceptibility to oxidative damage. We sought to separate the effects of Vg on lifespan due to behavioral maturation from those due to immune and antioxidant function using two selected strains of honey bees that differ in their phenotypic responsiveness to Vg gene knockdown. Surprisingly, we found that lifespans lengthen in the strain described as behaviorally and hormonally insensitive to Vg reduction. We then performed targeted gene expression analyses on genes hypothesized to mediate aging and lifespan: the insulin-like peptides (Ilp1 and 2) and manganese superoxide dismutase (mnSOD). The two honey bee Ilps are the most upstream components in the insulin-signaling pathway, which influences lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster and other organisms, while manganese superoxide dismutase encodes an enzyme with antioxidant functions in animals. We found expression differences in the llps in fat body related to behavior (llp1 and 2) and genetic background (Ilp2), but did not find strain by treatment effects. Expression of mnSOD was also affected by behavior and genetic background. Additionally, we observed a differential response to Vg knockdown in fat body expression of mnSOD, suggesting that antioxidant pathways may partially explain the strain-specific lifespan responses to Vg knockdown.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-01-01

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Support for the reproductive ground plan hypothesis of social evolution and major QTL for ovary traits of Africanized worker honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)

Description

Background
The reproductive ground plan hypothesis of social evolution suggests that reproductive controls of a solitary ancestor have been co-opted during social evolution, facilitating the division of labor among social

Background
The reproductive ground plan hypothesis of social evolution suggests that reproductive controls of a solitary ancestor have been co-opted during social evolution, facilitating the division of labor among social insect workers. Despite substantial empirical support, the generality of this hypothesis is not universally accepted. Thus, we investigated the prediction of particular genes with pleiotropic effects on ovarian traits and social behavior in worker honey bees as a stringent test of the reproductive ground plan hypothesis. We complemented these tests with a comprehensive genome scan for additional quantitative trait loci (QTL) to gain a better understanding of the genetic architecture of the ovary size of honey bee workers, a morphological trait that is significant for understanding social insect caste evolution and general insect biology.
Results
Back-crossing hybrid European x Africanized honey bee queens to the Africanized parent colony generated two study populations with extraordinarily large worker ovaries. Despite the transgressive ovary phenotypes, several previously mapped QTL for social foraging behavior demonstrated ovary size effects, confirming the prediction of pleiotropic genetic effects on reproductive traits and social behavior. One major QTL for ovary size was detected in each backcross, along with several smaller effects and two QTL for ovary asymmetry. One of the main ovary size QTL coincided with a major QTL for ovary activation, explaining 3/4 of the phenotypic variance, although no simple positive correlation between ovary size and activation was observed.
Conclusions
Our results provide strong support for the reproductive ground plan hypothesis of evolution in study populations that are independent of the genetic stocks that originally led to the formulation of this hypothesis. As predicted, worker ovary size is genetically linked to multiple correlated traits of the complex division of labor in worker honey bees, known as the pollen hoarding syndrome. The genetic architecture of worker ovary size presumably consists of a combination of trait-specific loci and general regulators that affect the whole behavioral syndrome and may even play a role in caste determination. Several promising candidate genes in the QTL intervals await further study to clarify their potential role in social insect evolution and the regulation of insect fertility in general.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011-04-13

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Ovarian Control of Nectar Collection in the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

Description

Honey bees are a model system for the study of division of labor. Worker bees demonstrate a foraging division of labor (DOL) by biasing collection towards carbohydrates (nectar) or protein

Honey bees are a model system for the study of division of labor. Worker bees demonstrate a foraging division of labor (DOL) by biasing collection towards carbohydrates (nectar) or protein (pollen). The Reproductive ground-plan hypothesis of Amdam et al. proposes that foraging DOL is regulated by the networks that controlled foraging behavior during the reproductive life cycle of honey bee ancestors. Here we test a proposed mechanism through which the ovary of the facultatively sterile worker impacts foraging bias. The proposed mechanism suggests that the ovary has a regulatory effect on sucrose sensitivity, and sucrose sensitivity impacts nectar loading. We tested this mechanism by measuring worker ovary size (ovariole number), sucrose sensitivity, and sucrose solution load size collected from a rate-controlled artificial feeder. We found a significant interaction between ovariole number and sucrose sensitivity on sucrose solution load size when using low concentration nectar. This supports our proposed mechanism. As nectar and pollen loading are not independent, a mechanism impacting nectar load size would also impact pollen load size.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012-04-30