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Oxidative metabolism in caste differentiation in honeybees: number and structure of gene expression and mitochondrial functional indicators

Grant number: 13/24733-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2014
Effective date (End): March 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator:Klaus Hartmann Hartfelder
Grantee:Douglas Elias Santos
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/03171-5 - Causal analysis of Apis mellifera development: regulatory genes and hierachical networks of gene expression in the specification of tissue and organs, AP.TEM


Beyond of ecological and economic importance, Apis mellifera is an important model for studies of developmental biology. From bipotentes larvae can be generated two phenotypically distinct female castes: queens, that deals with reproduction of nest and workers responsible for the maintenance work of the colony. The caste differentiation is due the differential feeding that queens received during larval stage. Nutrients from food are stored in the fat body cells, which is the seat of intermediary metabolism, and mobilized during larval growth and metamorphosis. In insects, pre-imaginal growth and metamorphosis induction are integrated by the molecular signaling pathways insulin/TOR and morphogenetic hormones (ecdysone and juvenile hormone). In bees, however, the expression profile of IIS/Tor pathways genes not consistent with the high growth rate of queens during the last larval stage. This promoted the exploitation of growth regulation by oxidative metabolism hipotesis, specifically via response to hypoxia. Once the transcript levels of the three main genes (Amsima, Amtango, Amfatiga) were elevated in worker larvae, it was found that these pass one endogenous hypoxia, possibly related to the number and function of mitochondria fat body. Thus, the aim of this work is to analyze the structure and mitochondrial biogenesis and its relationship with the hypoxia pathway in caste differentiation in honeybees. Therefore, the mitochondria of the fat body of larvae of queens and workers collected during critical phases of caste differentiation will be analyzed by transmission electron microscopy and mitochondrial biogenesis evaluated by confocal microscopy using an antibody to mitochondria general. Molecular mechanisms that controlling mitochondrial biogenesis will be investigated by quantitative RT-qPCR assays (real time RT-PCR) of genes scylla/charybde (genes involved in the integration of the hypoxia pathway and Insulin/TOR) and spargel (ortholog of PGC-1 gene involved in mitochondrial biogenesis) and comparison of transcript levels of genes encoding cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase. By focusing on the oxidative metabolism in the control of phenotypic plasticity in social insects and Apis mellifera as a model, this project represents a paradigm shift in the development of varieties, while the approaches to recent models of obesity in mammals

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SANTOS, DOUGLAS ELIAS; SOUZA, ANDERSON DE OLIVEIRA; TIBERIO, GUSTAVO JACOMINI; ALBERICI, LUCIANE CARLA; HARTFELDER, KLAUS. Differential expression of antioxidant system genes in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) caste development mitigates ROS-mediated oxidative damage in queen larvae. GENETICS AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, v. 43, n. 4, . (13/24733-7, 17/26418-2, 17/09128-0, 11/03171-5)
SANTOS, DOUGLAS ELIAS; ALBERICI, LUCIANE CARLA; HARTFELDER, KLAUS. Mitochondrial structure and dynamics as critical factors in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) caste development. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, v. 73, p. 1-11, . (13/24733-7, 10/17259-9)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
SANTOS, Douglas Elias. Oxidative metabolism in caste differentiation in honeybees: number and structure of gene expression and mitochondrial functional indicators. 2017. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC) Ribeirão Preto.

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