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

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Sexual communication in honeybees (Apis mellifera): functional study of drone olfactory receptors expressed in Drosophila olfactory neurons

Author(s):
Julia Mariette, Julia Mariette , Thierry Louis , Amélie Noël , Virginie Larcher , Nicolas Montagné , Thomas Chertemps , Emmanuelle Jacquin-Joly , Frédéric Marion-Poll , Jean-Christophe Sandoz
Institution(s):
Laboratory Evolution, Genomes, Behavior, Ecology (EGCE), CNRS UMR9191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France; Laboratory Evolution, Genomes, Behavior, Ecology (EGCE), CNRS UMR9191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France ; Laboratory Evolution, Genomes, Behavior, Ecology (EGCE), CNRS UMR9191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France ; Laboratory Evolution, Genomes, Behavior, Ecology (EGCE), CNRS UMR9191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France ; Laboratory Evolution, Genomes, Behavior, Ecology (EGCE), CNRS UMR9191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France ; Sorbonne Universités, Institute of Ecology & Environmental Sciences of Paris, Department of Sensory Ecology, Paris, France. ; Sorbonne Universités, Institute of Ecology & Environmental Sciences of Paris, Department of Sensory Ecology, Paris, France. ; INRA, Institute of Ecology & Environmental Sciences of Paris, Department of Sensory Ecology, Versailles, France. ; Laboratory Evolution, Genomes, Behavior, Ecology (EGCE), CNRS UMR9191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France ; Laboratory Evolution, Genomes, Behavior, Ecology (EGCE), CNRS UMR9191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Worldwide, the honeybee Apis mellifera is the most important pollinator and currently represents a major economic and ecological issue. Intensive current research attempts to understand factors that cause honeybee colony losses. Comparatively, little effort has been dedicated to improving honeybee reproduction by acquiring a thorough knowledge of their reproductive behavior. Olfaction plays a crucial role in honeybee reproduction, which takes place high in the air, where male bees (drones) fly around and mate in dozens with single virgin queens. One main queen-produced olfactory signal – a component of the queen mandibular pheromone (9-ODA) – is known to attract the drones. However, the drone brain presents not one but four conspicuous pheromone-specific units (macroglomeruli) in its primary olfactory center, the antennal lobe. Interestingly, four olfactory receptors (ORs) are overexpressed in drones’ antennae: AmOR10, AmOR11, AmOR18 and AmOR170, among which AmOR11 specifically binds 9-ODA. Thus, additional unknown queen and male-produced pheromonal signals might be involved in bees’ sexual behavior. In this study, we aimed to identify these compounds by attempting to deorphanize (i.e determine the ligands of) the three remaining receptors AmOR10, AmOR18 and AmOR170 and to understand their behavioral function. For this purpose, we express these honeybee olfactory receptors in Drosophila melanogaster olfactory neurons and study their activity by electrophysiological and calcium imaging approaches. We will present the results of initial screens of many odorants aiming to identify the ligands of these male-biased receptors. We next plan to test the effects of these odorants on drones’ behavior to understand their possible involvement in honeybee reproduction.
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