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Functional analysis of 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10HDA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor and principal organic acid of royal jelly, with respect to the differentiation of the castes of Apis mellifera l

Grant number: 18/11271-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2018
Effective date (End): June 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Klaus Hartmann Hartfelder
Grantee:Giovana Craveiro
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil


Honey bees are characterized by a highly advanced social organization, where the queen and worker castes perform specific functions in the hive. The queen is responsible for reproduction, while the workers are responsible for performing all the colony maintenance tasks. Despite their morphological and functional differences, queens and workers do not differ genetically, but represent a polyphenism triggered by the differentiated diets offered to queens and workers during the larval stages. Royal jelly (RJ), which is offered to queen larvae in large quantities, is rich in sugars, amino acids, organic acids and minerals. Compounds present in RJ have been proposed to regulate the epigenetic state of the larvae, by altering DNA methylation levels and histone modifcations. One such molecule, 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10HDA), is present in high amounts in royal jelly and has been identified as an inhibitor of histone deacetylase enzymes in mammalian cells. Histone deacetylases remove acetyl groups from lysine residues in histones, mainly in histone 3, thus promoting chromatin compaction and, consequently, hinder the access of transcription factors and mounting of the transcriptional machinery. Hence, inhibitors of such enzymes can keep the chromatin in a state more accessible to transcription factors. In this project we aim to investigate the role of 10HDA with respect to its effect on the histone acetylation status in worker larvae, and how this effect could result in changes in the transcriptional levels of candidate genes already identified as differentially expressed in the caste development of honey bees.