Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers at Illinois explore queen bee longevity

09.05.2007
The queen honey bee is genetically identical to the workers in her hive, but she lives 10 times longer and - unlike her sterile sisters - remains reproductively viable throughout life. A study from the University of Illinois sheds new light on the molecular mechanisms that account for this divergence. The study appears in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research centers on the interplay of three factors known to have a role in reproduction, growth and/or longevity. The first, vitellogenin (Vg), is a yolk protein important to reproduction but which also has been found to contribute to longevity in worker bees.

The second, juvenile hormone, contributes to growth and maturation.
The third, an insulin-IGF-1 signaling pathway, regulates aging, fertility and other important biological processes in invertebrates and vertebrates.

The study explores these factors in queen honey bees. How, the researchers wanted to know, could the queen achieve such a long life compared with her sisters while also devoting so much energy to reproduction?

"Many times the way organisms achieve longevity is via a tradeoff with reproduction," said entomology professor Gene Robinson, principal investigator on the study. "In general, life forms that postpone reproduction until later in life live longer. But the queen bee has her cake and eats it too. She's an egg-laying machine. She lays 2,000 eggs a day and yet lives 10 times longer than individuals that stem from the same genome and yet do not reproduce."

The researchers knew from studies of the fruit fly and nematode that the insulin-signaling pathway had a role in longevity. Down-regulation of insulin-IGF-1 signaling (IIS) in those species was associated with increases in longevity - but at the expense of fertility.

They also knew that manipulating fat body cells in the head of the fruit fly influenced longevity. Because Vg is synthesized in fat body cells in honey bees, the team decided to look at Vg expression in the head and thorax as well as the abdomen.

This led to an important discovery. Expression of Vg was high in the abdomen in the young queen and declined over time, but increased with age in the head and thorax. Old queens showed much higher Vg expression than young queens.

Worker bees had much lower levels of Vg expression than queens, and Vg in worker heads was also low compared with queens. Previous studies in workers had shown that Vg reduced oxidative stress in honey bees by scavenging free radicals that can lead to aging or illness. Not surprisingly, queens were more resistant to oxidative stress than workers.

Whether this is the actual mechanism by which queens achieve both fertility and long life remains to be seen, Robinson said. In any event, this study suggests that vitellogenin plays a vital role in queen bee longevity, he said, particularly since the honey bee lacks many antioxidants commonly found in other species.

"There are implications here (for other species) in the sense that here is an organism that is reproductively active and long-lived,"
said Robinson, who is also affiliated with the Institute for Genomic Biology. "And we see novel and conserved factors that are part of a large regulatory network. The queen has her cake and eats it too. And humans want to know how that works."

Editor's note: To reach Gene Robinson, call 217-333-6843; e-mail:
generobi@uiuc.edu.

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/07/0508queenbee.html

Further reports about: Reproduction longevity queen

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>