Identification of vitellogenin in the ant, Camponotus festinatus: changes in hemolymph proteins and fat body development in workers.

T. Martinez, Diana E Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Vitellogenin has been identified in the ant Camponotus festinatus, both in queens and workers. In the workers, it is already present before adult eclosion in low concentrations (less than 1 microgram/microliter hemolymph). Vitellogenin and vitellin are immunologically identical and are composed of a single type of apoprotein with an apparent Mr = 185,000. The molecular weight of the native molecules was estimated as approximately 460,000 by pore limiting gradient electrophoresis. Vitellogenin was detected as a major protein in the hemolymph of young workers, both under queenright and queenless conditions. Thus, in spite of their sterility in the presence of the queen, C. festinatus workers are able to synthetize vitellogenin which is identical both in size and immunologically to the queen vitellogenin. About 6-7 weeks after adult eclosion, however, vitellogenin was usually undetectable in the hemolymph of queenright workers, particularly the minor workers, while it constituted about 30% of total protein in queenless workers. Protein concentration in the hemolymph of queenless insects increased up to 20-fold as compared to 1-day-old insects. Queenless workers also developed large amounts of perivisceral fat body, while queenright workers, particularly the minor workers, showed a dramatic fat body regression about 6 weeks after emergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-155
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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