Project description:Apis mellifera and Apis cerana are two sibling species of Apidae. Apis cerana is adept at collecting sporadic nectar in mountain and forest region and exhibits stiffer hardiness and acarid resistance as a result of natural selection, whereas Apis mellifera has the advantage of producing royal jelly. To identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that affect the development of hypopharyngeal gland (HG) and/or the secretion of royal jelly between these two honeybee species, we performed a digital gene expression (DGE) analysis of the HGs of these two species at three developmental stages (newly emerged worker, nurse and forager).Twelve DGE-tag libraries were constructed and sequenced using the total RNA extracted from the HGs of newly emerged workers, nurses, and foragers of Apis mellifera and Apis cerana. Finally, a total of 1482 genes in Apis mellifera and 1313 in Apis cerana were found to exhibit an expression difference among the three developmental stages. A total of 1417 DEGs were identified between these two species. Of these, 623, 1072, and 462 genes showed an expression difference at the newly emerged worker, nurse, and forager stages, respectively. The nurse stage exhibited the highest number of DEGs between these two species and most of these were found to be up-regulated in Apis mellifera. These results suggest that the higher yield of royal jelly in Apis mellifera may be due to the higher expression level of these DEGs.In this study, we investigated the DEGs between the HGs of two sibling honeybee species (Apis mellifera and Apis cerana). Our results indicated that the gene expression difference was associated with the difference in the royal jelly yield between these two species. These results provide an important clue for clarifying the mechanisms underlying hypopharyngeal gland development and the production 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:In this study, we examined the impact of Sacbrood virus (SBV), the cause of larval honeybee (Apis mellifera) death, producing a liquefied a larva sac, on the gut bacterial communities on two larval honeybee species, Apis mellifera and Apis cerana. SBV was added into a worker jelly food mixture and bee larvae were grafted into each of the treatment groups for 24 h before DNA/RNA extraction. Confirmation of SBV infection was achieved using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and visual symptomology. The 16S rDNA was sequenced by Illumina sequencing. The results showed the larvae were infected with SBV. The gut communities of infected A. cerana larvae exhibited a dramatic change compared with A. mellifera. In A. mellifera larvae, the Illumina sequencing revealed the proportion of Gilliamella, Snodgrassella and Fructobacillus was not significantly different, whereas in A. cerana, Gilliamella was significantly decreased (from 35.54% to 2.96%), however, with significant increase in Snodgrassella and Fructobacillus. The possibility of cross-infection should be further investigated.
Project description:In Asia, honey is mainly produced by Apis mellifera and Apis cerana. However, the price of A. cerana honey is usually much higher than A. mellifera honey. Seeing considerable profits, some dishonest companies and beekeepers mislabel A. mellifera honey as A. cerana honey or incorporate A. mellifera honey into A. cerana honey. In the present study, we developed methods to discriminate A. cerana honey from A. mellifera honey based on the MRJP2 (major royal jelly protein 2) gene. Two pairs of species-specific primers were designed. The amplification products of A. cerana and A. mellifera were 212 and 560 bp, respectively. As little as one percent incorporation of A. mellifera honey in the mixture can be detected by duplex PCR. Additionally, another method based on the melt curve analysis using the same primers was also developed, allowing a rapid discrimination of real-time PCR product of different species. Our study shows that the entomological authentication of honey samples can be identified by nuclear genes other than mitochondrial genes and this extends the possibility of gene selection in identification. The authentication system we proposed could be a useful tool for discriminating A. cerana honey from A. mellifera honey.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Previous glycophylogenetic comparisons of dipteran and lepidopteran species revealed variations in the anionic and zwitterionic modifications of their N-glycans; therefore, we wished to explore whether species- and order-specific glycomic variations would extend to the hymenoptera, which include the honeybee Apis mellifera, an agriculturally- and allergologically-significant social species. METHODS:In this study, we employed an off-line liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry approach, in combination with enzymatic and chemical treatments, to analyse the N-glycans of male honeybee larvae and honeybee venom in order to facilitate definition of isomeric structures. RESULTS:The neutral larval N-glycome was dominated by oligomannosidic and paucimannosidic structures, while the neutral venom N-glycome displayed more processed hybrid and complex forms with antennal N-acetylgalactosamine, galactose and fucose residues including Lewis-like epitopes; the anionic pools from both larvae and venom contained a wide variety of glucuronylated, sulphated and phosphoethanolamine-modified N-glycans with up to three antennae. In comparison to honeybee royal jelly, there were more fucosylated and fewer Man4/5-based hybrid glycans in the larvae and venom samples as well as contrasting antennal lengths. CONCLUSIONS:Combining the current data on venom and larvae with that we previously published on royal jelly, a total honeybee N-glycomic repertoire of some 150 compositions can be proposed in addition to the 20 previously identified on specific venom glycoproteins. SIGNIFICANCE:Our data are indicative of tissue-specific modification of the core and antennal regions of N-glycans in Apis mellifera and reinforce the concept that insects are capable of extensive processing to result in rather complex anionic oligosaccharide structures.
Project description:There are many differences in external morphology and internal physiology between the Apis mellifera queen bee and worker bee, some of which are relevant to beekeeping production. These include reproductive traits, body size, royal jelly secreting properties, and visual system development, among others. The identification of candidate genes that control the differentiation of these traits is critical for selective honeybee breeding programs. In this study, we compared the genomic methylation of queen bee and worker bee larvae at 3, 4, and 5 days of age by whole-genome bisulfite sequencing, and found that the basic characteristics of genomic methylation in queen and worker larvae were the same. There were approximately 49 million cytosines in the Apis larvae genome, of which about 90,000 were methylated. Methylated CpG sites accounted for 99% of the methylated cytosines, and methylation mainly occurred in exons. However, methylation levels of queen and worker larvae showed different trends with age: the methylation level of queen larvae varied with age in an inverted parabola, while the corresponding trend for worker larvae with resembled an exponential curve with a platform. The methylation level of queen larvae was higher than that of worker larvae at 3 days of age, lower than that of worker larvae at 4 days of age, and similar to that of worker larvae at 5 days old. The top 10 differentially methylated genes (DMGs) and 13 caste-specific methylated genes were listed, and correlations with caste determination were speculated. We additionally screened 38 DMGs between queen larvae and worker larvae involved in specific organ differentiation as well as reproduction, morphology, and vision differentiation during caste determination. These genes are potential molecular markers for selective breeding of A. mellifera to improve fecundity, royal jelly production, body size, and foraging, and represent candidate genes for investigating specialized functional segregation during the process of caste differentiation.
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: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:<h4>Background</h4>In the honey bee (Apis mellifera), queen and workers have different behavior and reproductive capacity despite possessing the same genome. The primary substance that leads to this differentiation is royal jelly (RJ), which contains a range of proteins, amino acids, vitamins and nucleic acids. MicroRNA (miRNA) has been found to play an important role in regulating the expression of protein-coding genes and cell biology. In this study, we characterized the miRNAs in RJ from two honey bee sister species and determined their possible effect on transcriptome in one species.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>We sequenced the miRNAs in RJ either from A. mellifera (RJM) or A. cerana (RJC). We then determined the global transcriptomes of adult A. mellifera developed from larvae fed either with RJM (mRJM) or RJC (mRJC). Finally we analyzed the target genes of those miRNA that are species specific or differentially expressed in the two honey bee species. We show that there were differences in miRNA between RJM and RJC, and that transcriptomes of adult A. mellifera were affected by the two types of RJ. A high proportion (23.3%) of the affected genes were target genes of differential miRNAs.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We show for the first time that there are differences in miRNAs in RJ between A. mellifera and A. cerana. Further, the differences in transcriptomes of bees reared from these two RJs might be related to miRNA differences of the two species. This study provides the first evidence that heterospecific royal jelly can modify gene expression in honey bees through an epigenetic mechanism.
Project description:Honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera) serve as attractive hosts for a variety of pathogens providing optimal temperatures, humidity, and an abundance of food. Thus, honeybees have to deal with pathogens throughout their lives and, even as larvae they are affected by severe brood diseases like the European Foulbrood caused by Melissococcus plutonius. Accordingly, it is highly adaptive that larval food jelly contains antibiotic compounds. However, although food jelly is primarily consumed by bee larvae, studies investigating the antibiotic effects of this jelly have largely concentrated on bacterial human diseases. In this study, we show that royal jelly fed to queen larvae and added to the jelly of drone and worker larvae, inhibits not only the growth of European Foulbrood-associated bacteria but also its causative agent M. plutonius. This effect is shown to be caused by the main protein (major royal jelly protein 1) of royal jelly.