, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 71–83 | Cite as

Circadian clock genes are differentially modulated during the daily cycles and chronological age in the social honeybee (Apis mellifera)

  • Fabiano C. P. Abreu
  • Flávia C. P. Freitas
  • Zilá L. P. Simões
Original article


The circadian clock is an advantageous adaptive system that enables organisms to predict and anticipate the daily environmental changes. The circadian rhythms are generated molecularly through the expression of clock genes, based on autoregulatory feedback loops. Honeybees are an excellent model to investigate how the circadian rhythms are modulated accordingly to the social context, behavioral plasticity, and task-related activities. Here, we show how the clock genes behave during the daily cycles in adult worker heads of Apis mellifera. Our results point to the clock genes period and cryptochrome as essential regulators of the circadian rhythms associated to the behavioral maturation in this social insect. We also identified putative miRNA-target and protein-protein interactions involving honeybee clock genes, indicating regulatory networks behind the adjustment of the molecular clock.


circadian clock clock genes circadian rhythms honeybees miRNAs 



FAPESP, Process Nº 2014/14194-4.

Authors’ contribution

All authors have contributed equally to the work: Fabiano C.P. Abreu and Zilá L.P. Simões elaborated the idea of this work, experimental procedures were performed by Fabiano C. P. Abreu, and Flavia C.P. Freitas performed the computational analyses.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Genética, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão PretoUniversidade de São PauloRibeirão PretoBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão PretoUniversidade de São PauloRibeirão PretoBrazil

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