Identification and metabolic analysis of “hungry-signal” pheromones from honeybee larvae (<em>Apis mellifera</em>) — ASN Events

Identification and metabolic analysis of “hungry-signal” pheromones from honeybee larvae (Apis mellifera) (#231)

Xujiang He 1 2 , Wujun Jiang 2 , Xuechuan Zhang 3 , Jianhui Zhang 3 , Andrew Barron 1 , Zhijiang Zeng 2
  1. Biological science, Macquarie University, Sydney
  2. Honeybee Research Institute, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang, China
  3. Biomarker Technologies Co., Ltd, Beijing, China

Abstract: Pheromones play an important role in the communication system of eusocial insect species. Here we describe a new pheromone by which larval honey bees (Apis mellifera) signal their hunger state to workers. We used a needle trap system to gather volatile compounds from food deprived honey bee larvae, fed larvae and larval food. Analysis with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, identified E-β-Ocimene as a possible candidate for hungry signal from honey bee larvae. E-β-ocimene was detected from both 2d and 4d worker, drone and queen larvae and more was detected from starving larvae than fed larvae and from larval food. RNA-sequence analysis indicated that 14 genes were involved in the E-β-Ocimene biosynthetic pathway but these were not significantly differently expressed between starving larvae and fed larvae. These results suggest that E-β-ocimene is a candidate for a “hungry-signal” pheromone for honey bee larvae and is denovo synthesised by the larva, but its biosynthesis process may be regulated by other means.