Rho GTPase activity in the honey bee mushroom bodies is correlated with age and foraging experience.

Neuroscience Program, Wake Forest University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.
Journal of insect physiology (Impact Factor: 2.24). 11/2011; 58(2):228-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2011.11.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Foraging experience is correlated with structural plasticity of the mushroom bodies of the honey bee brain. While several neurotransmitter and intracellular signaling pathways have been previously implicated as mediators of these structural changes, none interact directly with the cytoskeleton, the ultimate effector of changes in neuronal morphology. The Rho family of GTPases are small, monomeric G proteins that, when activated, initiate a signaling cascade that reorganizes the neuronal cytoskeleton. In this study, we measured activity of two members of the Rho family of GTPases, Rac and RhoA, in the mushroom bodies of bees with different durations of foraging experience. A transient increase in Rac activity coupled with a transient decrease in RhoA activity was found in honey bees with 4 days foraging experience compared with same-aged new foragers. These observations are in accord with previous reports based on studies of other species of a growth supporting role for Rac and a growth opposing role for RhoA. This is the first report of Rho GTPase activation in the honey bee brain.

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    ABSTRACT: In the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, the neuronal and molecular mechanisms related to worker division of labor are poorly understood. Workers from different subcastes (major, medium and minors) perform different tasks, which are loosely associated with their size. We hypothesized that the short neuropeptide F (sNPF) signaling system (NPY-like) could be involved in mechanisms of worker division of labor and sensing or responding to colony nutritional requirements. Thus, we investigated the expression of the short neuropeptide F receptor (sNPFR) in the brain and subesophageal ganglion (SEG) of workers from colonies with and without brood. Across worker subcastes a total of 9 clusters of immunoreactive sNPFR cells were localized in the brain and the subesophageal ganglion (SEG); some of these cells were similar to those observed previously in the queen. Worker brain sNPFR cell clusters were found in the protocerebrum near mushroom bodies, in the central complex and in the lateral horn. Other sNPFR immunoreactive cells were found at the edge of the antennal lobes. Across subcastes, we observed both a constant and a differential pattern of sNPFR clusters, with a higher number of sNPFR cells found in minor than in major workers. Those sNPFR cells detected in all worker subcastes appear to be involved in olfaction or SEG functions. The differential expression of clusters in subcastes suggests that sNPFR signaling is involved in regulating behaviors associated with specific subcastes and thus, division of labor. Some sNPFR cells appear to be involved in nutrient sensing and/or brood care, feeding behavior and locomotion. In colonies without brood, workers showed a lower cluster number, and an overall reduced sNPFR signal. Our results suggest the sNPF signaling system is a candidate for the neurobiological control of worker division of labor and sensing brood presence, perhaps correlating with protein requirements and availability.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e83966. · 3.73 Impact Factor

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