A family of major royal jelly proteins of the honeybee Apis mellifera L.
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The characterization of major proteins of honeybee larval jelly (49 – 87 kDa) was performed by the sequencing of new complementary DNAs (cDNAs) obtained from a honeybee head cDNA library, by the determination of N-terminal sequences of the proteins, and by analyses of the newly obtained and known sequence data concerning the proteins. It was found that royal jelly (RJ) and worker jelly (WJ) contain identical major proteins and that all the proteins belong to one protein family designated MRJP (from major royal jelly proteins). The family consists of five main members (MRJP1, MRJP2, MRJP3, MRJP4, MRJP5). The proteins MRJP3 and MRJP5 are polymorphic. MRJPs account for 82 to 90% of total larval jelly protein, and they contain a relatively high amount of essential amino acids. These findings support the idea that MRJPs play an important role in honeybee nutrition.
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