Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists identify 36 genes, 100 neuropeptides in honey bee brains

From humans to honey bees, neuropeptides control brain activity and, hence, our behaviors. Understanding the roles these peptides play in the life of a honey bee will assist researchers in understanding the roles they play in their human counterparts.

There are a million neurons in the brain of a honey bee (Apis mellifera), a brain not much larger than the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The activities of these neurons are influenced by the sea of peptides they are bathed in.

"Neuropeptides undoubtedly play a role in the bees' shift from working in the hive to foraging, displaying and interpreting dance language, and in defending the hive," said Jonathan Sweedler, a William H. and Janet Lycan Professor of Chemistry and the director of the Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"To use the honey bee as a model for sociogenomics, and to link molecular information to neurochemical and physiological data, we first must know the identities of the peptides used in the brain and the genes they are encoded by," Sweedler said.

... more about:
»Genome »Neuropeptide »Peptide »Sweedler »sequence

Using a combination of the newly available honey bee genome sequence, as well as bioinformatics and mass spectrometry, Sweedler and collaborators from the United States and Belgium inferred the sequences of more than 200 possible neuropeptides and confirmed the sequences of 100 neuropeptides from the brain of the honey bee.

"This study lays the groundwork for future molecular studies of honey bee neuropeptides with the identification of 36 genes, 33 of which were previously unreported," the researchers write in the Oct. 27 issue of the journal Science.

"Neuropeptides come in a bewildering range of shapes and sizes, and are notoriously hard to predict from a genome alone," Sweedler said. "Even if you find a gene, it is hard to say what particular peptide it will create, because neuropeptide precursors undergo extensive post-translational processing."

Some of the neuropeptides the researchers discovered were a result of direct measurements of bee brains using an extremely sensitive mass spectrometer. Some of the genes were found because they resembled genes discovered in other species, such as the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). And, because genes that produce neuropeptides often have repeating sequences, some of the genes were found by a computer algorithm that scanned the honey bee genome for such telltale sequences.

"We found 36 genes, from which we detected 100 peptides by mass spectrometry," said Sweedler, who also is a researcher at the university's Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and an affiliate of the university's Institute for Genomic Biology. "By combining other techniques, from bioinformatics to proteomics, we inferred an additional 100 peptides."

Some of the inferred peptides may not have been measured because they were present at too low a level to be detected, Sweedler said. Others may have been missed because they are present only during particular developmental stages. Future work will no doubt find and confirm more of the brain's peptides.

"The potential of our blended technology approach to facilitate discovery of these peptides is not only significant for advancing honey bee research," the researchers wrote, "it demonstrates promise for neuropeptide discovery in the large number of other new genomes currently being sequenced."

James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Genome Neuropeptide Peptide Sweedler sequence

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>