Representational Difference Analysis (RDA) reveals differential expression of conserved as well as novel genes during caste-specific development of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) ovary.

Abstract

In highly eusocial insects, such as the honey bee, Apis mellifera, the reproductive bias has become embedded in morphological caste differences. These are most expressively denoted in ovary size, with adult queens having large ovaries consisting of 150-200 ovarioles each, while workers typically have only 1-20 ovarioles per ovary. This morphological differentiation is a result of hormonal signals triggered by the diet change in the third larval instar, which eventually generate caste-specific gene expression patterns. To reveal these we produced differential gene expression libraries by Representational Difference Analysis (RDA) for queen and worker ovaries in a developmental stage when cell death is a prominent feature in the ovarioles of workers, whereas all ovarioles are maintained and extend in length in queens. In the queen library, 48% of the gene set represented homologs of known Drosophila genes, whereas in the worker ovary, the largest set (59%) were ESTs evidencing novel genes, not even computationally predicted in the honey bee genome. Differential expression was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR for a selected gene set, denoting major differences for two queen and two worker library genes. These included two unpredicted genes located in chromosome 11 (Group11.35 and Group11.31, respectively) possibly representing long non-coding RNAs. Being candidates as modulators of ovary development, their expression and functional analysis should be a focal point for future studies.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2011.03.013

Cite this paper

@article{Humann2011RepresentationalDA, title={Representational Difference Analysis (RDA) reveals differential expression of conserved as well as novel genes during caste-specific development of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) ovary.}, author={Fernanda Carvalho Humann and Klaus Hartmann Hartfelder}, journal={Insect biochemistry and molecular biology}, year={2011}, volume={41 8}, pages={602-12} }