|Support type:||Scholarships in Brazil - Master|
|Effective date (Start):||September 01, 2006|
|Effective date (End):||August 31, 2008|
|Field of knowledge:||Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics|
|Principal Investigator:||Marcia Maria Gentile Bitondi|
|Grantee:||Juliana Ramos Martins|
|Home Institution:||Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil|
The yet partial sequencing and annotation of the honey bee (A. mellifera) genome (http://www.hgsc.bmc.tmc.edu/projects/honeybee/), have opened the opportunity to use this social bee as a model for the characterization of environmentally-modulated gene activity. It is known that the very distinct honey bee females, worker and queen, are created from a single genome throughout environmental stimuli, i.e., by differential diets received by the presumptive morphs. Given that morphogenesis of two different organisms of the same sex is an attribute of social insects, the honey bee genome opens a frontier for scientific investigations beyond that exposed by sequencing the genomes of the non-social Drosophila and Anopheles. The differential modulation of gene activity by environment can be studied using the A. mellifera hexamerin (Hex) genes. Studies in our Laboratory (Cunha et al., 2005) showed that these genes are regulated by an environmental factor, in this case, by the alimentary diet. In addition, Hex genes have important functions in metamorphosis, during which caste differentiation becomes evident, and at least one of them is differentially expressed in castes. Moreover, there is evidence that Hex genes have a function in the reproduction of this insect of great economical importance. The current project aims to complete the studies of Hex genes in A. mellifera. Three of these genes were already characterized in our laboratory. It is our intention to study the last one (Hex 70c) by cloning, sequencing and characterizing its expression (using RT-PCR and Real-time PCR) in the context of regulation of caste differentiation, metamorphosis and reproduction. This work will be finalized with a comparative analysis of gene structure and expression pattern of the four Hex genes, searching for experimental and computational evidence of their origin and functions.