Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Queen bee or worker bee? New insights into honeybee society caste system

Date:
September 22, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting deep new insights into whys and hows of the famous caste system that dominates honey bee societies, with a select few bee larvae destined for royalty and the masses for worker status.

Bees.
Credit: Irochka / Fotolia

Scientists are reporting deep new insights into whys and hows of the famous caste system that dominates honey bee societies, with a select few bee larvae destined for royalty and the masses for worker status.

Their study probing the innermost biological makings of queen bees and worker bees appears in ACS's Journal of Proteome Research.

Jianke Li and colleagues (the joint work of scientists from China and Ethiopia) note that despite more than a century of research, mysteries remain about the biochemical factors at the basis of the fascinating caste system in honeybee colonies. Schoolchildren learn that the (usually) one queen bee in a colony develops from larvae fed royal jelly, a protein-rich secretion from glands on the heads of worker bees. Other larvae develop into female workers or male drones. Although queen and worker bees share almost identical genes, their destinies could be more different.

"The female queen is large in size and specializes in reproduction," the scientists explain, "whereas workers are small and engage in colony-maintaining activities. Their life spans also vary, with the queen living for 1 to 2 years and the workers living only 6 to 7 weeks. To gain further information, the scientists looked at proteins inside the cells of larvae destined for queen and worker status.

Their findings reveal major differences, during early stages of life, in the activity of proteins in the mitochondria, structures that produce energy for cells. The differences include changes in the amounts of protein produced in cells and the activity of those proteins. In pre-queen larvae, proteins involved in carbohydrate and energy metabolism, for instance, are much more active than in workers. "This suggests proteins with metabolic enhancing activities generally appear to have significant roles in the process of caste determination," the researchers conclude.

The authors acknowledge funding from Modern Agro-industry Technology Research System and The National Natural Science Foundation of China.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Desalegn Begna, Yu Fang, Mao Feng, Jianke Li. Mitochondrial Proteins Differential Expression during Honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) Queen and Worker Larvae Caste Determination. Journal of Proteome Research, 2011; 10 (9): 4263 DOI: 10.1021/pr200473a

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Queen bee or worker bee? New insights into honeybee society caste system." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921132344.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, September 22). Queen bee or worker bee? New insights into honeybee society caste system. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921132344.htm
American Chemical Society. "Queen bee or worker bee? New insights into honeybee society caste system." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921132344.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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