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Title: Molecular characterization of the gene feminizer in the stingless bee Melipona interrupta (Hymenoptera: Apidae) reveals association to sex and caste development
Authors: Brito, Diana Vieira
Silva, Carlos Gustavo N.
Hasselmann, Martin
Viana, Luciana S.
Astolfi-Filho, Spártaco A.T.
Carvalho-zilse, Gislene Almeida
Keywords: Juvenile Hormone
Rna, Messenger
Alternative Rna Splicing
Gene Expression Regulation
Growth, Development And Aging
Sex Determination Processes
Alternative Splicing
Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
Genes, Insect
Juvenile Hormones
Rna, Messenger
Sex Determination Processes
Issue Date: 2015
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 66, Pags. 24-30
Abstract: In highly eusocial insects, development of reproductive traits are regulated not only by sex determination pathway, but it also depends on caste fate. The molecular basis of both mechanisms in stingless bees and possible interaction with each other is still obscure. Here, we investigate sex determination in Melipona interrupta, focusing on characterization and expression analysis of the feminizer gene (Mi- fem), and its association to a major component of caste determination, the juvenile hormone (JH). We present evidence that Mi- fem mRNA is sex-specifically spliced in which only the female splice variant encodes the full length protein, following the same principle known for other bee species. We quantified Mi- fem expression among developmental stages, sexes and castes. Mi- fem expression varies considerably throughout development, with higher expression levels in embryos. Also, fem levels in pupae and newly emerged adults were significantly higher in queens than workers and males. Finally, we ectopically applied JH in cocoon spinning larvae, which correspond to the time window where queen/worker phenotypes diverge. We observed a significantly increase in Mi- fem expression compared to control groups. Since up to 100% of females turn into queens when treated with JH (while control groups are composed mainly of workers), we propose that fem might act to regulate queens' development. Our findings provide support for the conserved regulatory function of fem in Melipona bees and demonstrate a significant correlation between key elements of sex and caste determination pathways, opening the avenue to further investigate the molecular basis of these complex traits. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2015.09.008
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