Transcriptional Control of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Major Royal Jelly Proteins by 20-Hydroxyecdysone.
ABSTRACT: One of the first tasks of worker honey bees (Apis mellifera) during their lifetime is to feed the larval offspring. In brief, young workers (nurse bees) secrete a special food jelly that contains a large amount of unique major royal jelly proteins (MRJPs). The regulation of mrjp gene expression is not well understood, but the large upregulation in well-fed nurse bees suggests a tight repression until, or a massive induction upon, hatching of the adult worker bees. The lipoprotein vitellogenin, the synthesis of which is regulated by the two systemic hormones 20-hydroxyecdysone and juvenile hormone, is thought to be a precursor for the production of MRJPs. Thus, the regulation of mrjp expression by the said systemic hormones is likely. This study focusses on the role of 20-hydroxyecdysone by elucidating its effect on mrjp gene expression dynamics. Specifically, we tested whether 20-hydroxyecdysone displayed differential effects on various mrjps. We found that the expression of the mrjps (mrjp1?3) that were finally secreted in large amounts into the food jelly, in particular, were down regulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone treatment, with mrjp3 showing the highest repression value.
Project description:Honey bee larval food jelly is a secretion of the hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of young worker bees that take care of the growing brood in the hive. Food jelly is fed to all larvae (workers, drones and queens) and as royal jelly to the queen bee for her entire life. Up to 18% of the food jelly account for proteins the majority of which belongs to the major royal jelly protein (MRJP) family. These proteins are produced in the hypopharyngeal glands at a pH value of 7.0. Before being fed to the larvae, they are mixed with the fatty acids secreted by the mandibular glands of the worker bees resulting at a pH of 4.0 in the food jelly. Thus, MRJPs are exposed to a broad pH range from their site of synthesis to the actual secreted larval food. We therefore determined the pH-dependent stability of MRJP1, MRJP2 and MRJP3 purified from royal jelly using differential scanning fluorimetry. All MRJPs were much more stable at acidic pH values compared to neutral ones with all proteins showing highest stability at pH 4.0 or 4.5, the native pH of royal jelly.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the honeybee Apis mellifera, female larvae destined to become a queen are fed with royal jelly, a secretion of the hypopharyngeal glands of young nurse bees that rear the brood. The protein moiety of royal jelly comprises mostly major royal jelly proteins (MRJPs) of which the coding genes (mrjp1-9) have been identified on chromosome 11 in the honeybee's genome. RESULTS:We determined the expression of mrjp1-9 among the honeybee worker caste (nurses, foragers) and the sexuals (queens (unmated, mated) and drones) in various body parts (head, thorax, abdomen). Specific mrjp expression was not only found in brood rearing nurse bees, but also in foragers and the sexuals. CONCLUSIONS:The expression of mrjp1 to 7 is characteristic for the heads of worker bees, with an elevated expression of mrjp1-4 and 7 in nurse bees compared to foragers. Mrjp5 and 6 were higher in foragers compared to nurses suggesting functions in addition to those of brood food proteins. Furthermore, the expression of mrjp9 was high in the heads, thoraces and abdomen of almost all female bees, suggesting a function irrespective of body section. This completely different expression profile suggests mrjp9 to code for the most ancestral major royal jelly protein of the honeybee.
Project description:Royal jelly proteins (MRJPs) of the honeybee bear several open questions. One of them is their expression in tissues other than the hypopharyngeal glands (HGs), the site of royal jelly production. The sole MRJP-like gene of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris (BtRJPL), represents a pre-diversification stage of the MRJP gene evolution in bees. Here we investigate the expression of BtRJPL in the HGs and the brain of bumblebees. Comparison of the HGs of bumblebees and honeybees revealed striking differences in their morphology with respect to sex- and caste-specific appearance, number of cells per acinus, and filamentous actin (F-actin) rings. At the cellular level, we found a temporary F-actin-covered meshwork in the secretory cells, which suggests a role for actin in the biogenesis of the end apparatus in HGs. Using immunohistochemical localization, we show that BtRJPL is expressed in the bumblebee brain, predominantly in the Kenyon cells of the mushroom bodies, the site of sensory integration in insects, and in the optic lobes. Our data suggest that a dual gland-brain function preceded the multiplication of MRJPs in the honeybee lineage. In the course of the honeybee evolution, HGs dramatically changed their morphology in order to serve a food-producing function.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Skin injury is inevitable in daily life. In recent years, with the increasing morbidity of diseases such as diabetes and metabolic disorders, chronic wounds have become a considerable challenge in clinical practice. Royal jelly, reported to have multifarious biological and physiological properties, has been used as a remedy for a variety of wounds since ancient times. However, the active components and mechanisms underlying the wound-healing properties of royal jelly are still largely unknown. METHODS:Water-soluble proteins of royal jelly were fractionated and investigated for the proliferative and migratory effects on human epidermal keratinocytes (HaCaT) in an in vitro wound healing model. The proteins present in bioactive fractions were characterised and quantified using Label-free protein quantification method. The potential functions of these proteins in biological systems were further analysed using bioinformatic tools. RESULTS:A protein fraction, mainly containing major royal jelly proteins 2 (MRJP2), MRJP3 and MRJP7, stimulated proliferative and migratory activities in HaCaT cells without visible cytotoxicity. It exerted the greatest effects on the growth of HaCaT cells in the first 48?h. Furthermore, when treated with this protein fraction, the closure rates of the in vitro scratch wound were significantly increased. Functional analysis indicated that MRJP2, MRJP3 and MRJP7 were associated with carbohydrate transport and metabolism. CONCLUSIONS:We fractionated the water-soluble proteins of royal jelly and identified one fraction (Fraction 2) that induced both proliferative and migratory effects on a human epidermal keratinocyte cell line. Major royal jelly proteins (MRJP2, MRJP3 and/or MRJP7) were speculated to possess potential wound-healing bioactivity. This is the first report that royal jelly may improve wound closure via MRJP-induced cellular proliferation and migration. These proteins may be valuable lead compounds for the development of novel wound healing medications. Our findings would facilitate better understanding of the wound repair mechanisms of royal jelly.
Project description:RNA flow between organisms has been documented within and among different kingdoms of life. Recently, we demonstrated horizontal RNA transfer between honeybees involving secretion and ingestion of worker and royal jellies. However, how the jelly facilitates transfer of RNA is still unknown. Here, we show that worker and royal jellies harbor robust RNA-binding activity. We report that a highly abundant jelly component, major royal jelly protein 3 (MRJP-3), acts as an extracellular non-sequence-specific RNA-aggregating factor. Multivalent RNA binding stimulates higher-order assembly of MRJP-3 into extracellular ribonucleoprotein granules that protect RNA from degradation and enhance RNA bioavailability. These findings reveal that honeybees have evolved a secreted dietary RNA-binding factor to concentrate, stabilize, and share RNA among individuals. Our work identifies high-order ribonucleoprotein assemblies with functions outside cells and organisms.
Project description:The hypopharyngeal glands (HPGs) of worker honeybees undergo physiological changes along with the age-dependent role change from nursing to foraging: nurse bee HPGs secrete mainly major royal jelly proteins, whereas forager HPGs secrete mainly ?-glucosidase III, which converts the sucrose in the nectar into glucose and fructose. We previously identified two other genes, Apis mellifera buffy (Ambuffy) and Apis mellifera matrix metalloproteinase 1 (AmMMP1), with enriched expression in nurse bee and forager HPGs, respectively. In the present study, to clarify the molecular mechanisms that coordinate HPG physiology with worker behavior, we first analyzed whether Ambuffy, AmMMP1, mrjp2 (a gene encoding one of major royal jelly protein isoforms), and Hbg3 (a gene encoding ?-glucosidase III) expression, is associated with worker behavior in 'single-cohort colonies' where workers of almost the same age perform different tasks. Expression of these genes correlated with the worker's role, while controlling for age, indicating their regulation associated with the worker's behavior. Associated gene expression suggested the possible involvement of some hormonal factors in its regulation. We therefore examined the relationship between ecdysone- and juvenile hormone (JH)-signaling, and the expression profiles of these 'indicator' genes (nurse bee HPG-selective genes: mrjp2 and Ambuffy, and forager HPG-selective genes: Hbg3 and AmMMP1). Expression of both ecdysone-regulated genes (ecdysone receptor, mushroom body large type Kenyon cell specific protein-1, and E74) and JH-regulated genes (Methoprene tolerant and Krüppel homolog 1) was higher in the forager HPGs than in the nurse bee HPGs, suggesting the possible roles of ecdysone- and JH-regulated genes in worker HPGs. Furthermore, 20-hydroxyecdysone-treatment repressed both nurse bee- and forager-selective gene expression, whereas methoprene-treatment enhanced the expression of forager-selective genes and repressed nurse bee-selective genes in the HPGs. Our findings suggest that both ecdysone- and JH-signaling cooperatively regulate the physiological state of the HPGs in association with the worker's behavior.
Project description:In the eusocial honey bee Apis mellifera, with reproductive queens and sterile workers, a female larva's developmental fate depends on its diet; nurse bees feed queen-destined larvae exclusively royal jelly, a glandular secretion, but worker-destined larvae receive royal jelly for 3 days and subsequently jelly to which honey and beebread are added. RNA-Seq analysis demonstrated that p-coumaric acid, which is ubiquitous in honey and beebread, differentially regulates genes involved in caste determination. Rearing larvae in vitro on a royal jelly diet to which p-coumaric acid has been added produces adults with reduced ovary development. Thus, consuming royal jelly exclusively not only enriches the diet of queen-destined larvae but also may protect them from inhibitory effects of phytochemicals present in the honey and beebread fed to worker-destined larvae.
Project description:Major royal jelly protein 1 (MRJP1), designated apalbumin 1, has been regarded as a freshness marker of royal jelly (RJ). A MRJP1-specific peptide (IKEALPHVPIFD) identified by bioinformatics analysis of homologous members of the major royal protein family was synthesized and used to raise polyclonal anti-MRJP1 antibody (anti-SP-MRJP1 antibody). Western blot analysis showed that anti-SP-MRJP1 antibody only reacted with MRJP1 in RJ. In contrast, the previously reported antibody against recombinant MRJP1 (anti-R-MRJP1 antibody) reacted with other members of MRJP family in RJ. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using anti-SP-MRJP1 antibody demonstrated that MRJP1 content in RJ stored at 40 °C significantly degraded by 37.3%, 55.9%, 58.0%, 60.6%, 65.7%, 72.7%, and 73.1% at 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, and 49 d, respectively, when compared with MRJP1 content in fresh RJ (0 d). Optical density analysis of MRJP bands from sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) profiles demonstrated that the degradation of MRJP1, MRJP2, MRJP3, and MRJP5 in RJ was strongly and positively correlated with the period of storage (P<0.0001). Our results indicated anti-SP-MRJP1 antibody was highly specific for MRJP1, and ELISA using the antibody is a sensitive and easy-to-use method to determine the freshness and authenticity of RJ.
Project description:The genome of the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) harbours ten different major royal jelly protein genes (mrjp1-10) which originate from a single-copy precursor via gene duplication. The evolutionary fate of duplicated genes is eventually determined over time as to result in loss due to pseudogenization, or in preservation due to neo- or sub-functionalization. Both fates were already observed in the mrjp gene cluster, as only mrjp1 - 9 are expressed, whereas mrjp10 was pseudogenized and represents an incomplete gene copy. In contrast, MRJP1 underwent neofunctionalization and developed an essential function within the food jelly of queen larvae, to guaranty the survival of the whole colony. We here show combining quantitative real time PCR with quantitative mass spectrometry that expression of most mrjps (mrjp1-5 and 7) shows an age dependent pattern in worker hypopharyngeal glands as well as in brains. Expression increases after hatching until the nurse bee period and is followed by a decrease in older workers that forage for different plant products. Mrjp6 expression deviates considerably from the expression profiles of the other mrjps and transcript abundance does not correlate with protein amount. Thus, either mrjp6 does fulfil a total different function or it might be on its way to pseudogenization. Furthermore, a tissue-specific function of the proteins MRJP8 and 9 in the hypopharyngeal glands and the brain can be excluded, suggesting a more general physiological than a nutritive function for both gene products.
Project description:Royal jelly (RJ) is a secretion of the hypopharyngeal glands (HGs) of honeybee workers. High royal jelly producing bees (RJBs), a stock of honeybees selected from Italian bees (ITBs), have developed a stronger ability to produce RJ than ITBs. However, the mechanism underpinning the high RJ-producing performance in RJBs is still poorly understood. We have comprehensively characterized and compared the proteome across the life span of worker bees between the ITBs and RJBs. Our data uncover distinct molecular landscapes that regulate the gland ontogeny and activity corresponding with age-specific tasks. Nurse bees (NBs) have a well-developed acini morphology and cytoskeleton of secretory cells in HGs to prime the gland activities of RJ secretion. In RJB NBs, pathways involved in protein synthesis and energy metabolism are functionally induced to cement the enhanced RJ secretion compared with ITBs. In behavior-manipulated RJB NBs, the strongly expressed proteins implicated in protein synthesis and energy metabolism further demonstrate their critical roles in the regulation of RJ secretion. Our findings provide a novel understanding of the mechanism consolidating the high RJ-output in RJBs.