Invertebrate Neuroscience

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 123–132

The cys-loop ligand-gated ion channel superfamily of the honeybee, Apis mellifera

Original Paper


Members of the cys-loop ligand-gated ion channel (cys-loop LGIC) superfamily mediate neurotransmission in insects and are targets of successful insecticides. We have described the cys-loop LGIC superfamily of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, which is an important crop pollinator and a key model for social interaction. The honeybee superfamily consists of 21 genes, which is slightly smaller than that of Drosophila melanogaster comprising 23 genes. As with Drosophila, the honeybee possesses ion channels gated by acetylcholine, γ-amino butyric acid, glutamate and histamine as well as orthologs of the Drosophila pH-sensitive chloride channel (pHCl), CG8916, CG12344 and CG6927. Similar to Drosophila, honeybee cys-loop LGIC diversity is broadened by differential splicing which may also serve to generate species-specific receptor isoforms. These findings on Apis mellifera enhance our understanding of cys-loop LGIC functional genomics and provide a useful basis for the development of improved insecticides that spare a major beneficial insect species.


Alternative splicing Apis mellifera Drosophila melanogaster Insecticide targets Ion channels Neurotransmitter receptors 


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© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MRC Functional Genetics Unit, Department of Physiology Anatomy and Genetics, Le Gros Clark BuildingUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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