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Vitellogenin in Honey Bee Behavior and Lifespan

  • Gro V. AmdamEmail author
  • Erin Fennern
  • Heli Havukainen

Abstract

Vitellogenin is a phospholipoglycoprotein that affects multiple aspects of honey bee life-history. Across the vast majority of oviparous taxa, vitellogenins are female-specific egg yolk proteins, with their essential function tied to oogenesis. In honey bees, however, vitellogenin is also expressed by female helpers, called workers, which are largely sterile. Here, vitellogenin influences behavior and stress resilience, and is believed to be important to honey bee social organization. Together with longtime collaborators, we have discovered roles of vitellogenin in worker behavioral traits such as nursing, foraging onset and foraging bias, and in survival traits such as oxidative stress resilience, cell-based immunity, and longevity. We have also identified a mutually inhibitory interaction between vitellogenin and the systemic endocrine factor juvenile hormone (JH), which is central to insect reproduction and stress response. This regulatory feedback loop has spurred hypotheses on how vitellogenin and JH together have become key life-history regulators in honey bees. A current research focus is on how this feedback loop is tied to nutrient-sensing insulin/insulin-like signaling that can govern expression of phenotypic plasticity. Here, we summarize this body of work in the context of new structural speculations that can lead to a modern understanding of vitellogenin function.

Keywords

Juvenile Hormone Ethyl Oleate Stress Resilience Vitellogenin Gene Vitellogenin Synthesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

DRH

Double repressor hypothesis

JH

Juvenile hormone

RGPH

Reproductive ground plan hypothesis

Vg

Vitellogenin

vWFD

von Willebrand factor D-type

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food ScienceNorwegian University of Life SciencesAasNorway

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