Social regulation of ageing by young workers in the honey bee, Apis mellifera

Eyer, Michael; Dainat, Benjamin; Neumann, Peter; Dietemann, Vincent (2017). Social regulation of ageing by young workers in the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Experimental gerontology, 87(Pt A), pp. 84-91. Elsevier 10.1016/j.exger.2016.11.006

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Organisms' lifespans are modulated by both genetic and environmental factors. The lifespan of eusocial insects is determined by features of the division of labor, which itself is influenced by social regulatory mechanisms. In the honey bee, Apis mellifera, the presence of brood and of old workers carrying out foraging tasks are important social drivers of ageing, but the influence of young adult workers is unknown, as it has not been experimentally teased apart from that of brood. In this study, we test the role of young workers in the ageing of their nestmates. We measured the impact of different social contexts characterized by the absence of brood and/or young adults on the lifespan of worker nestmates in field colonies. To acquire insight into the physiological processes occurring under these contexts, we analyzed the expression of genes known to affect honey bee ageing. The data showed that young workers significantly reduced the lifespan of nestmate workers, similar to the effect of brood on its own. Differential expression of vitellogenin, major royal jelly protein-1, and methylase transferase, but not methyl farneosate epoxidase genes suggests that young workers and brood influence ageing of adult nestmate workers via different physiological pathways. We identify young workers as an essential part of the social regulation of ageing in honey bee colonies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Eyer, Michael and Neumann, Peter

Subjects:

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

ISSN:

0531-5565

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Gina Retschnig

Date Deposited:

05 Jul 2017 16:03

Last Modified:

05 Jul 2017 16:03

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.exger.2016.11.006

PubMed ID:

27865886

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.92934

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/92934

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