Forager bees 'turn on' gene expression to protect against microorganisms, toxins

November 10, 2015 by Pat Bailey
Forager bees ‘turn on’ gene expression to protect against microorganisms, toxins
Forager bees, like this one feeding on lavender nectar, "turn on" genes that could help protect the hive and honey against microbes and toxins. Credit: Kathy Keatley Garvey

When honeybees shift from nurse bees to foragers, or from caring for the brood to foraging for nectar and pollen, the bees "turn on" gene expression with products that protect against microorganisms and degrade toxins, three University of California, Davis, scientists have discovered.

Their findings on bee immunity and toxin metabolism are published today in Scientific Reports by the Nature Publishing Group.

"First, the results suggest that forager bees may use antimicrobial peptides—short sequences of amino acids with general activity—to reduce microbial growth in stored food resources," said Rachel Vannette, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. "This would be a largely unrecognized way that bees protect honey and potentially other stored resources from microbial spoilage. Second, this work shows that forager bees produce toxin-degrading enzymes in nectar-processing tissues.

"This may allow forager bees to degrade many different kinds of compounds in nectar, before it is stored," Vannette said. "Bees also vary in their ability to do this; foragers have a greater ability to degrade a variety of compounds than nurses. This may have implications for hive health and management."

The scientists found the change in the bees' nectar-processing tissues, but not in the gut. The scientists surmised that the exposure to bacteria or yeasts in the environment may trigger this change, but they did not examine it in the study.

"It had been well known that the division of labor in a honeybee colony is supported by extensive differences in brain gene expression between bees that perform different jobs," said Gene Robinson, director of the Institute for Genomic Biology and Swanlund Chair of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who was not involved in the research. "This new research shows nicely that this genomic differentiation extends beyond the brain; different complements of active genes in a variety of tissues make each bee better suited for the job it needs to perform."

The journal article, titled "Forager Bees (Apis Mellifera) Highly Express Immune and Detoxification Genes in Tissues Associated with Nectar Processing," is the work of senior author Brian Johnson, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and co-authors Abbas Mohamed, graduate student researcher in the Johnson lab and a member of the Pharmacology and Toxicology Group, and Vannette, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology this fall after serving a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. At Stanford, Vannette examined the role of nectar chemistry in community assembly of yeasts and plant-pollinator interactions.

Johnson, whose research interests include animal behavior, evolution, theoretical biology and genomics, recently began long-term research on the honeybee immune system and the causes and consequences of economically important diseases or syndromes such as colony collapse disorder.

The team plans to follow up with functional assays to examine the potential of these gene products to reduce microbial growth and degrade a variety of natural and synthetic compounds.

Explore further: Bees use colour-coding to collect pollen and nectar

More information: Rachel L. Vannette et al. Forager bees (Apis mellifera) highly express immune and detoxification genes in tissues associated with nectar processing, Scientific Reports (2015). DOI: 10.1038/srep16224

Related Stories

Researchers discover bees are picky pollinators

January 24, 2014

(Phys.org) —Huge swaths of the agricultural industry depend on the humble honeybee. According to the USDA, "about one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination." Biologists ...

Buzzing bees can't resist caffeinated nectar

October 15, 2015

For many people, the best start to the day is a nice, fresh cup of joe. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 15 find that honey bees find caffeinated beverages—er, nectar—irresistible ...

Recommended for you

Many more bacteria have electrically conducting filaments

December 8, 2017

Microbiologists led by Derek Lovley at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is internationally known for having discovered electrically conducting microfilaments or "nanowires" in the bacterium Geobacter, announce ...

The future of crop engineering 

December 8, 2017

Photosynthesis is the process underlying all plant growth. Scientists aim to boost photosynthesis to meet the increasing global demand for food by engineering its key enzyme Rubisco. Now, researchers at the Max Planck Institute ...

7 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JVK
4.1 / 5 (17) Nov 11, 2015
Excerpt: "Johnson, whose research interests include animal behavior, evolution, theoretical biology and genomics, recently began long-term research on the honeybee immune system...."

See for comparison:
Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. http://www.ncbi.n...24693349

After our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review of RNA-mediated cell type differentiation, the honeybee emerged as a model organism for understanding the epigenetic link from food odors and pheromones to neural networks of the mammalian brain, which ultimately determine human behavior.

Some researchers seem to still be trying to put the model organism for studying human immunity, disease resistance, allergic reaction, circadian rhythms, antibiotic resistance, the development of the brain and behavior, mental health, longevity, diseases of the X chromosome, learning et al... back into the context of neo-Darwinian nonsense.
Captain Stumpy
1.6 / 5 (14) Nov 11, 2015
After our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review
a review is not the same thing as a study, and therefore is equivalent to an article in the argument of scientific evidence
meaning: you can quote it all you want, but all you really are doing is proving a quote, not the empirical or validated evidence

also, this is the argument from authority fallacy (as well as False authority fallacy, considering your dubious record of interpretations, religious promotion and chronic lying proven here on PO)
into the context of neo-Darwinian
this is an Etymological fallacy (much like you do with Mutation and DeVries)

you should learn more about the scientific method
https://en.wikipe...c_method

JVK
4.1 / 5 (17) Nov 11, 2015
a review is not the same thing as a study


This study reported (below) that two nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions led to re-evolution of the bacterial flagellum via mutations in 4 days in the context of the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction in the species.

Video: https://www.youtu...fKOozG40

Evolutionary resurrection of flagellar motility via rewiring of the nitrogen regulation system
http://www.scienc...abstract

you should learn more about the scientific method


They should learn not to use the definition of "mutation" to link ecological variation to ecological adaptation via the conserved molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated protein folding chemistry that link microbes to humans in the context of the honeybee model organism and what is known about supercoiled DNA, which protects all organized genomes from virus-driven entropy.
JVK
4.1 / 5 (17) Nov 11, 2015
also, this is the argument from authority fallacy


The argument from authority was established a decade after I published my book.

"The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human Sexuality" http://human-natu...ohl.html review by Mark Sergeant

The authority who established the argument was Nobel Laureate Linda Buck who co-authored "Feedback loops link odor and pheromone signaling with reproduction"
http://www.ncbi.n...16290036

The same article established the fact that neo-Darwinian theorists are biologically uninformed science idiots. That's one reason why other serious scientists are laughing at theorists in parodies like these:

https://www.youtu...youtu.be All About that Base (Meghan Trainor Parody)

https://www.youtu...I6rtIgn0 Chemists Know - (Parody of "Let It Go" from Frozen)
Captain Stumpy
1.4 / 5 (11) Nov 11, 2015
The argument from authority was established
argument from authority is a logical fallacy
it also doesn't validate your claims any more than saying you're the Pope because you have white underwear is true
The Scent of Eros
the subject is science, not perfume or pseudoscience via religion
reported
Meghan Trainor Parody...Parody of
irrelevant and OT, as well as non-valid evidenciary argument
spamming with a youtube video doesn't validate your claims any more than repetitious lies about your "authority" or jobs does
reported
They should learn not to use the definition of "mutation"
https://en.wikipe...Mutation

just because you're illiterate doesn't mean everyone else is too, princess mensa
http://media-cach...f521.jpg
JVK
4.2 / 5 (15) Nov 11, 2015
See also:
The secret to safe DNA repair http://phys.org/n...dna.html

...if you don't have this enzyme, then this error-free repair is stopped. You can't do it. If you can't do the error-free repair, among other things that happen, is that you expect these cells to be cancer prone."


DNA repair is nutrient-dependent.

RNA-mediated events such as gene duplication and amino acid substitutions link DNA repair to healthy longevity. Perturbed protein folding links viruses to genomic entropy via what is currently known to serious scientists about the biophysically constrained chemistry of energy-dependent protein folding chemistry.
barakn
1.8 / 5 (10) Nov 14, 2015
JVK has amassed a sockpuppet army.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.