Thursday, 4 August 2016

Researchers identify how queen bees repress workers' fertility

August 3, 2016

Researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago have discovered the molecular mechanism by which queen honeybees carefully control worker bees' fertility.

It has long been known that worker bees have a very limited ability to reproduce in a hive with a queen and brood present, but in their absence, a third of them will activate their ovaries and lay eggs that hatch into fertile male drones.

It is queen pheromone that represses worker bee fertility, but how it achieves this has remained unclear.

Now, Otago genetics researchers have identified that an ancient cell-signalling pathway called Notch, which plays a major role in regulating embryonic development in all animals, has been co-opted to also constrain reproduction in worker bees.

In research newly published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, Professor Peter Dearden and colleagues Drs Elizabeth Duncan and Otto Hyink demonstrated that chemically inhibiting Notch signalling can overcome the effect of queen mandibular pheromone (QMP) and promote ovary activity in adult worker bees.

Professor Dearden says they were surprised to find that Notch signalling acts on the earliest stages of egg development in the ovary, perhaps even on the stem cells that make the ovary, and that in the absence of QMP the Notch receptor in a key region of worker bee ovaries becomes degraded.

No comments:

Post a comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails