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2011 2017

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 ...

Contributors
Wang, Ying, Brent, Colin S., Fennern, Erin, et al.
Created Date
2012-06-28

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 ...

Contributors
Rasmussen, Erik M. K., Amdam, Gro, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, et al.
Created Date
2015-02-06

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 ...

Contributors
Hystad, Eva Marit, Salmela, Heli, Amdam, Gro, et al.
Created Date
2017-09-06

Recent advancements in genomics provide new tools for evolutionary ecological research. The paper wasp genus Polistes is a model for social insect evolution and behavioral ecology. We developed RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated gene silencing to explore proposed connections between expression of hexameric storage proteins and worker vs. gyne (potential future foundress) castes in naturally-founded colonies of P. metricus. We extended four fragments of putative hexamerin-encoding P. metricus transcripts acquired from a previous study and fully sequenced a gene that encodes Hexamerin 2, one of two proposed hexameric storage proteins of P. metricus. MALDI-TOF/TOF, LC-MSMS, deglycosylation, and detection of phosphorylation assays showed ...

Contributors
Hunt, James H., Mutti, Navdeep, Havukainen, Heli, et al.
Created Date
2011-11-01

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 ...

Contributors
Salmela, Heli, Amdam, Gro, Freitak, Dalial, et al.
Created Date
2015-07-31

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 ...

Contributors
De Souza, Daiana A., Wang, Ying, Kaftanoglu, Osman, et al.
Created Date
2015-04-20

Background Phosphatase and TENsin (PTEN) homolog is a negative regulator that takes part in IIS (insulin/insulin-like signaling) and Egfr (epidermal growth factor receptor) activation in Drosophila melanogaster. IIS and Egfr signaling events are also involved in the developmental process of queen and worker differentiation in honey bees (Apis mellifera). Here, we characterized the bee PTEN gene homologue for the first time and begin to explore its potential function during bee development and adult life. Results Honey bee PTEN is alternatively spliced, resulting in three splice variants. Next, we show that the expression of PTEN can be down-regulated by RNA interference ...

Contributors
Mutti, Navdeep, Wang, Ying, Kaftanoglu, Osman, et al.
Created Date
2011-07-14

Background Gene bodies are the most evolutionarily conserved targets of DNA methylation in eukaryotes. However, the regulatory functions of gene body DNA methylation remain largely unknown. DNA methylation in insects appears to be primarily confined to exons. Two recent studies in Apis mellifera (honeybee) and Nasonia vitripennis (jewel wasp) analyzed transcription and DNA methylation data for one gene in each species to demonstrate that exon-specific DNA methylation may be associated with alternative splicing events. In this study we investigated the relationship between DNA methylation, alternative splicing, and cross-species gene conservation on a genome-wide scale using genome-wide transcription and DNA methylation ...

Contributors
Flores, Kevin, Wolschin, Florian, Corneveaux, Jason J., et al.
Created Date
2012-09-15

Background Juvenile hormone (JH) has been demonstrated to control adult lifespan in a number of non-model insects where surgical removal of the corpora allata eliminates the hormone’s source. In contrast, little is known about how juvenile hormone affects adult Drosophila melanogaster. Previous work suggests that insulin signaling may modulate Drosophila aging in part through its impact on juvenile hormone titer, but no data yet address whether reduction of juvenile hormone is sufficient to control Drosophila life span. Here we adapt a genetic approach to knock out the corpora allata in adult Drosophila melanogaster and characterize adult life history phenotypes produced ...

Contributors
Yamamoto, Rochelle, Bai, Hua, Dolezal, Adam, et al.
Created Date
2013-07-17

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 ...

Contributors
Chan, Queenie W. T., Mutti, Navdeep, Foster, Leonard J., et al.
Created Date
2011-09-28