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Zoological Research
Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 2095-8137
Vol. 35, No. 2, 2014, pp. 92-98
Bioline Code: zr14010
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Zoological Research, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2014, pp. 92-98

 en mRNA expression and DNA methylation in three key genes involved in caste differentiation in female honeybees ( Apis mellifera check for this species in other resources )
SHAO, Xin-Liang; HE, Shao-Yu; ZHUANG, Xin-Ying; FAN, Ying; LI, Ya-Hui & YAO, Yong-Gang


In honeybee ( Apis mellifera check for this species in other resources ) colonies, queens and workers are alternative forms of the adult female honeybee that develop from genetically identical zygotes but that depend on differential nourishment. Queens and workers display distinct morphologies, anatomies and behavior, better known as caste differentiation. Despite some basic insights, the exact mechanism responsible for this phenomenon, especially at the molecular level, remains unclear although some progress has been achieved. In this study, we examined mRNA levels of the TOR(target of rapamycin) and Dnmt3 (DNA methyltransferase 3) genes, closely related to caste differentiation in honeybees. We also investigated mRNA expression of the S6K(similar to RPS6-p70-protein kinase) gene linked closely to organismal growth and development in queen and worker larvae (1-day and 3-day old). Last, we investigated the methylation status of these three genes in corresponding castes. We found no difference in mRNA expression for the three genes between 1st instar queen and worker larvae; however, 3rd instar queen larvae had a higher level of TOR mRNA than worker larvae. Methylation levels of all three genes were lower in queen larvae than worker larvae but the differences were not statistically significant. These findings provide basic data for broadening our understanding of caste differentiation in female honeybees.

Caste differentiation; DNA methylation; DNA methyltransferase 3; Honeybee; Target of rapamycin

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