Comparative analysis of brain and fat body gene splicing patterns in the honey bee, Apis mellifera

Kavya Kannan, Molly Shook, Yang Li, Gene E. Robinson, Jian Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


RNA-seq has proven to be a powerful tool to unravel various aspects of the transcriptome, especially the quantification of alternative splicing (AS) that leads to isoform diversity. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) is an important model organism for studying the molecular underpinnings of behavioral plasticity and social behavior, and recent RNA-seq studies of honey bees have revealed AS patterns and their regulation by DNA methylation. However, tissue-specific AS patterns have not been fully explored. In this paper, we characterized AS patterns in two different honey bee tissue types, and also explored their conservation and regulation. We used the RNA-seq data from brain and fat body to improve the existing models of honey bee genes and identified tissue-specific AS patterns. We found that AS genes show high conservation between honey bee and Drosophila melanogaster. We also confirmed and extended previous findings of a correlation between gene body DNA methylation and AS patterns, providing further support for the role of DNA methylation in regulating AS. In addition, our analysis suggests distinct functional roles for tissue-specific alternatively spliced genes. Taken together, our work provides new insights into the conservation and dynamics of AS patterns across different tissue types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1063
Number of pages9
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Alternative splicing
  • Comparative genomics
  • Honey bee
  • RNA-seq
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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