Expression of insulin/insulin-like signalling and TOR pathway genes in honey bee caste determination

Diana E Wheeler, N. A. Buck, J. D. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The development of queen and worker castes in honey bees is induced by differential nutrition, with future queens and workers receiving diets that are qualitatively and quantitatively different. We monitored the gene expression of 14 genes for components of the insulin/insulin-like signalling and TOR pathways in honey bee larvae from 40-88 h after hatching. We compared normally fed queen and normally fed worker larvae and found that three genes showed expression differences in 40-h-old larvae. Genes that show such early differences in expression may be part of the mechanism that transduces nutrition level into a hormone signal. We then compared changes in expression after shifts in diet with those in normally developing queens and workers. Following a shift to the worker diet, the expression of 9/14 genes was upregulated in comparison with queens. Following a shift to the queen diet, expression of only one gene changed. The honey bee responses may function together as a homeostatic mechanism buffering larvae from caste-disrupting variation in nutrition. The different responses would be part of the canalization of both the queen and worker developmental pathways, and as such, a signature of advanced sociality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalInsect Molecular Biology
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014

Fingerprint

caste determination
Honey
Bees
queen insects
Social Class
honey bees
Larva
insulin
Insulin
Diet
Genes
genes
Gene Components
Gene Expression
nutrition
diet
larvae
gene expression
Hormones
insect larvae

Keywords

  • insect nutrition
  • polyphenism
  • queen production
  • social insects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Expression of insulin/insulin-like signalling and TOR pathway genes in honey bee caste determination. / Wheeler, Diana E; Buck, N. A.; Evans, J. D.

In: Insect Molecular Biology, Vol. 23, No. 1, 02.2014, p. 113-121.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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