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Honey bees move through a series of in-hive tasks (e.g., “nursing”) to outside tasks (e.g., “foraging”) that are coincident with physiological changes and higher levels of metabolic activity. Social context can cause worker bees to speed up or slow down this process, and foragers may revert back to their earlier in-hive tasks accompanied by reversion to earlier physiological states. To investigate the effects of flight, behavioral state and age on gene expression, we used whole-genome microarrays and real-time PCR. Brain tissue and flight muscle exhibited different patterns of expression during behavioral transitions, with expression patterns in the brain reflecting both age and behavior, and expression patterns in flight muscle being primarily determined by age. Our data suggest that the transition from behaviors requiring little to no flight (nursing) to those requiring prolonged flight bouts (foraging), rather than the amount of previous flight per se, has a major effect on gene expression. Following behavioral reversion there was a partial reversion in gene expression but some aspects of forager expression patterns, such as those for genes involved in immune function, remained. Combined with our real-time PCR data, these data suggest an epigenetic control and energy balance role in honey bee functional senescence.
Honey bee; Genomics; Aging; Flight
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Mancinelli, G. E.,
Benito, A. A.,
Roberts, S. P.,
Elekonich, M. M.
Effects of Flight on Gene Expression and Aging in the Honey Bee Brain and Flight Muscle.