International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Molecular basis of differential sugar perception in honeybee workers

Author(s):
Laura (Angelika) Degirmenci, Laura (Angelika) Degirmenci , Dr. Markus Thamm , Prof. Dr. Ricarda Scheiner
Institution(s):
Universitaet Wuerzburg, Biozentrum, Lehrstuhl fuer Verhaltensphysiologie und Soziobiologie (Zoologie II), Am Hubland, 97074 Wuerzburg; Universitaet Wuerzburg, Biozentrum, Lehrstuhl fuer Verhaltensphysiologie und Soziobiologie (Zoologie II), Am Hubland, 97074 Wuerzburg ; Universitaet Wuerzburg, Biozentrum, Lehrstuhl fuer Verhaltensphysiologie und Soziobiologie (Zoologie II), Am Hubland, 97074 Wuerzburg ; Universitaet Wuerzburg, Biozentrum, Lehrstuhl fuer Verhaltensphysiologie und Soziobiologie (Zoologie II), Am Hubland, 97074 Wuerzburg
The perception of sugars such as sucrose or fructose is of highest importance for the evaluation of food sources by honeybee foragers. The sweetness of a nectar source is of paramount importance for the nectar collectors, but the contributions of the different sugars to the nectar is also important. Sugar evaluation is not restricted to foragers. Nurse bees utilize the stored honey for producing brood food and therefore should also be able to evaluate sugar sources. In fact, the individual evaluation of sugar stimuli is assumed to play a major role in division of labor within a honeybee colony. Our data show that foragers and nurse bees differ in their sensory responsiveness for two important sugars, sucrose and fructose, with foragers being more responsive. Independent of the social role, bees were less responsive to fructose than to sucrose. As responsiveness to sucrose correlates with responsiveness to fructose, we suggest a common regulation for the evaluation of sugar stimuli in the brain or the periphery. Intriguingly, the lower responsiveness to fructose of nurse bees compared to foragers correlates with a lower expression of the putative fructose receptor AmGr3 gene. These findings indicate a close connection between the expression of sugar receptor genes, responsiveness to sugar and social organization in the honeybee colony.
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