Neuropeptide Y-like signalling and nutritionally mediated gene expression and behaviour in the honey bee

S. A. Ament, R. A. Velarde, M. H. Kolodkin, D. Moyse, Gene E. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous research has led to the idea that derived traits can arise through the evolution of novel roles for conserved genes. We explored whether neuropeptide Y (NPY)-like signalling, a conserved pathway that regulates food-related behaviour, is involved in a derived, nutritionally-related trait, the division of labour in worker honey bees. Transcripts encoding two NPY-like peptides were expressed in separate populations of brain neurosecretory cells, consistent with endocrine functions. NPY-related genes were upregulated in the brains of older foragers compared with younger bees performing brood care ('nurses'). A subset of these changes can be attributed to nutrition, but neuropeptide F peptide treatments did not influence sugar intake. These results contrast with recent reports of more robust associations between division of labour and the related insulin-signalling pathway and suggest that some elements of molecular pathways associated with feeding behaviour may be more evolutionarily labile than others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-345
Number of pages11
JournalInsect Molecular Biology
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Keywords

  • Apis mellifera
  • Feeding
  • npf
  • snpf

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Insect Science

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