Allatotropin, leucokinin and AKH in honey bees and other Hymenoptera

Jan A. Veenstra, Léa Rodriguez, Robert J. Weaver
Peptides. 2012-05-01; 35(1): 122-130
DOI: 10.1016/j.peptides.2012.02.019

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Veenstra JA(1), Rodriguez L, Weaver RJ.

Author information:
(1)Université de Bordeaux, INCIA UMR 5287 CNRS, Avenue des Facultés, 33405
Talence, France.

In the honey bee no allatotropin gene has been found, even though allatotropin
stimulates the synthesis of juvenile hormone in this species. We report here that
honey bees and other Hymenoptera do have a typical allatotropin gene, although
the peptides predicted have a somewhat different structure from that of other
insect allatotropins. Polyclonal antisera to honey bee allatotropin reacted with
material in the neurohemal organs of the segmental nerves of abdominal ganglia.
We were unable to find the allatotropin peptide using mass spectrometry in
extracts from these tissues. Thus the expression of this gene in honey bees is
less important than in other insect species. We also characterized the leucokinin
gene which similarly appears to be very weakly expressed in worker honey bees.
Unlike the allatotropin gene, which is conserved within Hymenoptera, the
leucokinin gene is much more variable in structure and was not found in ants nor
the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis. The absence of significant expression of
adipokinetic hormone (AKH) in the honey bee may be due to the existence of a
second TATA box in the promotor region of the gene, which explains the production
of an mRNA encoding a putative peptide precursor from which no AKH should be
released. Such a second TATA box was not found in other Hymenoptera, and may
therefore be specific for the two Apis species. It is suggested that functional
disintegration of this important metabolic gene became possible in Apis because
of the highly evolved social nature of the species.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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