PKG in honey bees: spatial expression, amfor gene expression, sucrose responsiveness, and division of labor

  • Division of labor is a hallmark of social insects. In honey bees, division of labor involves transition of female workers from one task to the next. The most distinct tasks are nursing (providing food for the brood) and foraging (collecting pollen and nectar). The brain mechanisms regulating this form of behavioral plasticity have largely remained elusive. Recently, it was suggested that division of labor is based on nutrition-associated signaling pathways. One highly conserved gene associated with food-related behavior across species is the foraging gene, which encodes a cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase (PKG). Our analysis of this gene reveals the presence of alternative splicing in the honey bee. One isoform is expressed in the brain. Expression of this isoform is most pronounced in the mushroom bodies, the subesophageal ganglion, and the corpora allata. Division of labor and sucrose responsiveness in honey bees correlate significantly with foraging gene expression in distinct brain regions. ActivatingDivision of labor is a hallmark of social insects. In honey bees, division of labor involves transition of female workers from one task to the next. The most distinct tasks are nursing (providing food for the brood) and foraging (collecting pollen and nectar). The brain mechanisms regulating this form of behavioral plasticity have largely remained elusive. Recently, it was suggested that division of labor is based on nutrition-associated signaling pathways. One highly conserved gene associated with food-related behavior across species is the foraging gene, which encodes a cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase (PKG). Our analysis of this gene reveals the presence of alternative splicing in the honey bee. One isoform is expressed in the brain. Expression of this isoform is most pronounced in the mushroom bodies, the subesophageal ganglion, and the corpora allata. Division of labor and sucrose responsiveness in honey bees correlate significantly with foraging gene expression in distinct brain regions. Activating PKG selectively increases sucrose responsiveness in nurse bees to the level of foragers, whereas the same treatment does not affect responsiveness to light. These findings demonstrate a direct link between PKG signaling in distinct brain areas and division of labor. Furthermore, they demonstrate that the difference in sensory responsiveness between nurse bees and foragers can be compensated for by activating PKG. Our findings on the function of PKG in regulating specific sensory responsiveness and social organization offer valuable indications for the function of the cGMP/PKG pathway in many other insects and vertebrates. J. Comp. Neurol. 522:1786-1799, 2014. (c) 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.show moreshow less

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar Statistics
Metadaten
Author:Markus Thamm, Ricarda Scheiner
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/cne.23500
ISSN:0021-9967 (print)
ISSN:1096-9861 (online)
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=24214291
Parent Title (English):The journal of comparative neurology
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication:Hoboken
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2014
Year of Completion:2014
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:cyclic GMP; division of labor; protein kinase G; sucrose responsiveness
Volume:522
Issue:8
Pagenumber:14
First Page:1786
Last Page:1799
Funder:German Research Foundation [SCHE 1573/2-1,2, SCHE 1573/3-1,2]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert