Monday, December 10, 2007 - 10:29 AM

Components of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling pathway in selected strains of honey bees (Apis mellifera)

Kate E. Ihle,, Robert E. Page Jr.,, M. Kim Fondrk,, and Gro V. Amdam, Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, Box 4601, Tempe, AZ

There is a tradeoff between longevity and reproduction in many animals. However, in the eusocial honey bee (Apis mellifera), this relationship is reversed. Long-lived queens are highly fecund, while short-lived workers are facultatively sterile. Remodeling of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling (IIS) pathway has been proposed to influence the unique relationship between fertility and life-span seen in the divergent phenotypes of honey bee queens and workers. In workers, the relationship between reproductive potential and life-span appears to be more conserved. More reproductively tuned workers with larger, more activated ovaries and higher titers of the yolk precursor protein vitellogenin (vg) tend to be shorter-lived than less reproductively tuned individuals. Using workers from strains of bees disruptively selected for levels of pollen hoarding and characterized by high versus low reproductive status, we examined the role of the ILS pathway on worker phenotype.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Apidae Apis mellifera (honey bee)