Molecular Determinants of Scouting Behavior in Honey Bees

Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 03/2012; 335(6073):1225-8. DOI: 10.1126/science.1213962
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Little is known about the molecular basis of differences in behavior among individuals. Here we report consistent novelty-seeking behavior, across different contexts, among honey bees in their tendency to scout for food sources and nest sites, and we reveal some of the molecular underpinnings of this behavior relative to foragers that do not scout. Food scouts showed extensive differences in brain gene expression relative to other foragers, including differences related to catecholamine, glutamate, and γ-aminobutyric acid signaling. Octopamine and glutamate treatments increased the likelihood of scouting, whereas dopamine antagonist treatment decreased it. These findings demonstrate intriguing similarities in human and insect novelty seeking and suggest that this trait, which presumably evolved independently in these two lineages, may be subserved by conserved molecular components.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reproduction by colony fission, or swarming, is a spectacular example of a behavior that requires the simultaneous coordination of the activities of thousands of honey bee workers and their queen. The successful execution of this collective phenomenon relies on the appropriate response of individuals in swarms to a myriad of signals that are produced by workers and queens to synchronize their nest exodus, subsequent house hunting, and eventual relocation to a new nest site. In this review, we describe our current understanding of the social factors that trigger swarming in colonies and the nonchemical and chemical signals that mediate a coordinated transition between its stages. We also highlight emerging work on the physiological and genomic mechanisms underpinning swarming behavior. Finally, we discuss the possible evolutionary origins of swarming behavior, through comparisons with related behaviors of migration, overwintering, estivation, and diapause in honey bees and other insects.
    Apidologie 05/2013; 45(3):327-346. DOI:10.1007/s13592-013-0253-2 · 1.54 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The biology of honey bees involves a host of developmental, behavioral, and physiological components that allow thousands of individual bees to form complex social units. Fueled by a wealth of information from new genomic technologies, a new approach, sociogenomics, uses a focus on the genome to integrate the molecular underpinnings and ultimate explanations of social life. This approach has resulted in a massive influx of data from the honey bee genome and transcriptome, a flurry of research activity, and new insights into honey bee biology. Here, we provide an up-to-date review describing how the honey bee has been successfully studied using this approach, highlighting how the integration of genomic information into honey bee research has provided insights into worker division of labor, communication, caste differences and development, evolution, and honey bee health. We also highlight how genomic studies in other eusocial insect species have provided insights into social evolution via comparative analyses. These data have led to several important new insights about how social behavior is organized on a genomic level, including (1) the fact that gene expression is highly dynamic and responsive to the social environment, (2) that large-scale changes in gene expression can contribute to caste and behavioral differences, (3) that transcriptional networks regulating these behaviors can be related to previously established hormonal mechanisms, and (4) that some genes and pathways retain conserved roles in behavior across contexts and social insect taxa.
    Apidologie 05/2013; 45(3):375-395. DOI:10.1007/s13592-013-0251-4 · 1.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Animal Behaviour 04/2015; 102. DOI:10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.12.030 · 3.07 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 30, 2014