We previously found that the major low-molecular weight protein in the male fire ant antenna is similar to apolipophorin-III (ALP-III). Varioius functions have been attributed to ALP-III in other insects, including lipid transport, immune response, and apoptosis, but not olfaction. We are continuing to study ALP-III to clarify its function in fire ant antennae. We confirmed the male fire ant ALP-III cDNA sequence by mass spectral analysis of tryptic peptides. Using RT-PCR, we found that ALP-III mRNA is present in male antennae and abdomen but not in head or thorax. Therefore, it is probably not expressed by cells circulating in the hemolymph. Using mRNA from workers (heads plus antennae) for RT-PCR, we obtained cDNA with the same ALP-III sequence found in males. We inserted the fire ant ALP-III DNA sequence into a pET22 expression vector in order to obtain 1) antibodies for immunocytochemistry, and 2) information about the endogenous ligand.
Species 1: hymenoptera Formicidae Solenopsis invicta (red imported fire ant)
Keywords: olfaction, antenna
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