Gene Expression and Functional Analyses of Odorant Receptors in Small Hive Beetles (Aethina tumida).

Liu, Yuanzhen; Beaurepaire, Alexis; Rogers, Curtis W.; Lopez, Dawn; Evans, Jay D; Straub, Lars; Neumann, Peter; Cook, Steven C.; Huang, Qiang (2020). Gene Expression and Functional Analyses of Odorant Receptors in Small Hive Beetles (Aethina tumida). International journal of molecular sciences, 21(13) MDPI 10.3390/ijms21134582

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Olfaction is key to many insects. Odorant receptors (ORs) stand among the key chemosensory receptors mediating the detection of pheromones and kairomones. Small hive beetles (SHBs), Aethina tumida, are parasites of social bee colonies and olfactory cues are especially important for host finding. However, how interactions with their hosts may have shaped the evolution of ORs in the SHB remains poorly understood. Here, for the first time, we analyzed the evolution of SHB ORs through phylogenetic and positive selection analyses. We then tested the expression of selected OR genes in antennae, heads, and abdomens in four groups of adult SHBs: colony odor-experienced/-naive males and females. The results show that SHBs experienced both OR gene losses and duplications, thereby providing a first understanding of the evolution of SHB ORs. Additionally, three candidate ORs potentially involved in host finding and/or chemical communication were identified. Significantly different downregulations of ORs between the abdomens of male and female SHBs exposed to colony odors may reflect that these expression patterns might also reflect other internal events, e.g., oviposition. Altogether, these results provide novel insights into the evolution of SHB ORs and provide a valuable resource for analyzing the function of key genes, e.g., for developing biological control. These results will also help in understanding the chemosensory system in SHBs and other beetles.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Bee Health

UniBE Contributor:

Liu, Yuanzhen; Beaurepaire, Alexis and Neumann, Peter


500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Andrea Stettler

Date Deposited:

21 Sep 2020 14:15

Last Modified:

21 Sep 2020 14:24

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

invasive species odorant receptor olfaction phylogeny




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