Transcriptomic profiling of central nervous system regions in three species of honey bee during dance communication behavior

Moushumi Sen Sarma, Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas, Feng Hong, Sheng Zhong, Gene E. Robinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Background We conducted a large-scale transcriptomic profiling of selected regions of the central nervous system (CNS) across three species of honey bees, in foragers that were performing dance behavior to communicate to their nestmates the location, direction and profitability of an attractive floral resource. We used microarrays to measure gene expression in bees from Apis mellifera, dorsata and florea, species that share major traits unique to the genus and also show striking differences in biology and dance communication. The goals of this study were to determine the extent of regional specialization in gene expression and to explore the molecular basis of dance communication. Principal Findings This "snapshot" of the honey bee CNS during dance behavior provides strong evidence for both species-consistent and species-specific differences in gene expression. Gene expression profiles in the mushroom bodies consistently showed the biggest differences relative to the other CNS regions. There were strong similarities in gene expression between the central brain and the second thoracic ganglion across all three species; many of the genes were related to metabolism and energy production. We also obtained gene expression differences between CNS regions that varied by species: A. mellifera differed the most, while dorsata and florea tended to be more similar. Significance Species differences in gene expression perhaps mirror known differences in nesting habit, ecology and dance behavior between mellifera, florea and dorsata. Species-specific differences in gene expression in selected CNS regions that relate to synaptic activity and motor control provide particularly attractive candidate genes to explain the differences in dance behavior exhibited by these three honey bee species. Similarities between central brain and thoracic ganglion provide a unique perspective on the potential coupling of these two motor-related regions during dance behavior and perhaps provide a snapshot of the energy intensive process of dance output generation. Mushroom body results reflect known roles for this region in the regulation of learning, memory and rhythmic behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnimal Behavior
Subtitle of host publicationAn Evolutionary Approach
PublisherApple Academic Press
Pages210-230
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781466562097
ISBN (Print)9781926692784
StatePublished - Apr 19 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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    Sarma, M. S., Rodriguez-Zas, S. L., Hong, F., Zhong, S., & Robinson, G. E. (2016). Transcriptomic profiling of central nervous system regions in three species of honey bee during dance communication behavior. In Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach (pp. 210-230). Apple Academic Press.