Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2011 Apr 26;6(4):e18808. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018808.

Diet and cell size both affect queen-worker differentiation through DNA methylation in honey bees (Apis mellifera, Apidae).

Author information

1
Honeybee Research Institute, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Young larvae of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) are totipotent; they can become either queens (reproductives) or workers (largely sterile helpers). DNA methylation has been shown to play an important role in this differentiation. In this study, we examine the contributions of diet and cell size to caste differentiation.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We measured the activity and gene expression of one key enzyme involved in methylation, Dnmt3; the rates of methylation in the gene dynactin p62; as well as morphological characteristics of adult bees developed either from larvae fed with worker jelly or royal jelly; and larvae raised in either queen or worker cells. We show that both diet type and cell size contributed to the queen-worker differentiation, and that the two factors affected different methylation sites inside the same gene dynactin p62.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

We confirm previous findings that Dnmt3 plays a critical role in honey bee caste differentiation. Further, we show for the first time that cell size also plays a role in influencing larval development when diet is kept the same.

PMID:
21541319
PMCID:
PMC3082534
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0018808
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center