, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 290-297

The Family of Major Royal Jelly Proteins and Its Evolution

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A cDNA encoding a new member of the gene family of major royal jelly proteins (MRJPs) from the honeybee, Apis mellifera, was isolated and sequenced. Royal jelly (RJ) is a secretion of the cephalic glands of nurse bees. The origin and biological function of the protein component (12.5%, w/w) of RJ is unknown. We show that the MRJP gene family encodes a group of closely related proteins that share a common evolutionary origin with the yellow protein of Drosophila melanogaster. Yellow protein functions in cuticle pigmentation in D. melanogaster. The MRJPs appear to have evolved a novel nutritional function in the honeybee.

Received: 26 September 1998 / Accepted: 28 February 1999