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Naturwissenschaften. 2007 May;94(5):375-9. Epub 2006 Dec 23.

Uncoupling primer and releaser responses to pheromone in honey bees.

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Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.


Pheromones produce dramatic behavioral and physiological responses in a wide variety of species. Releaser pheromones elicit rapid responses within seconds or minutes, while primer pheromones produce long-term changes which may take days to manifest. Honeybee queen mandibular pheromone (QMP) elicits multiple distinct behavioral and physiological responses in worker bees, as both a releaser and primer, and thus produces responses on vastly different time scales. In this study, we demonstrate that releaser and primer responses to QMP can be uncoupled. First, treatment with the juvenile hormone analog methoprene leaves a releaser response (attraction to QMP) intact, but modulates QMP's primer effects on sucrose responsiveness. Secondly, two components of QMP (9-ODA and 9-HDA) do not elicit a releaser response (attraction) but are as effective as QMP at modulating a primer response, downregulation of foraging-related brain gene expression. These results suggest that different responses to a single pheromone may be produced via distinct pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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