Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bees with an impaired insulin partner gene prefer proteins over carbs

Date:
April 6, 2010
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A new study of food-choice behavior in honey bees has identified a gene involved in bees' decisions to bring protein or nectar back to the colony. By taking control of the insulin receptor substrate gene, an insulin partner gene in the bees' fat cells, researchers made the insects forego carbohydrates (sugar-containing nectar) and favor protein (pollen).

A new study of food-choice behavior in honey bees, published April 1 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, has identified a gene involved in bees' decisions to bring protein or nectar back to the colony. By taking control of the Insulin Receptor Substrate gene (IRS), an insulin partner gene in the bees' fat cells, researchers at Arizona State University and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences made the insects forego carbohydrates (sugar-containing nectar) and favor protein (pollen).

Food decisions are responsible, in part, for the epidemic of metabolic disorders in humans, such as diabetes and obesity. IRS partner genes are found in people where deficiencies in the insulin pathway have caused metabolic disease. Insulin is thought to change eating behavior by signaling to its IRS partner in the brain. In contrast, the results from Dr. Gro Amdam and colleagues show that IRS outside of the brain can also modify food-choice behavior.

Most fat cells in honey bees are located in the abdomen. Researchers found that the experimental bees with normal IRS in the brain, but artificially reduced IRS in abdominal fat, returned to their colonies with less nectar than control bees. These bees' increased attraction to pollen and diminished interest in carbohydrates suggested an alteration in sensitivity to sugar. However, further testing determined that these bees gave up nectar without losing their taste for sugar.

While IRS affects the food choices of bees, it is not the only gene involved. Previous studies identified vitellogenin, a gene that also is active in fat cells. Its effect on the bees' loading of protein and carbohydrates is opposite to that of IRS. The researchers could not, in the present study, find a direct connection between the two genes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wang et al. Down-Regulation of Honey Bee IRS Gene Biases Behavior toward Food Rich in Protein. PLoS Genetics, 2010; 6 (4): e1000896 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000896

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Bees with an impaired insulin partner gene prefer proteins over carbs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401173720.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2010, April 6). Bees with an impaired insulin partner gene prefer proteins over carbs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401173720.htm
Public Library of Science. "Bees with an impaired insulin partner gene prefer proteins over carbs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401173720.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins