Free access
Volume 40, Number 4, July-August 2009
Page(s) 481 - 495
Published online 01 May 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 481-495
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2009009

Differential gene expression profiling in mucus glands of honey bee (Apis mellifera) drones during sexual maturation

Nínive Aguiar Colonello-Frattini1 and Klaus Hartfelder2

1  Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
2  Departamento de Biologia Celular e Molecular e Bioagentes Patogênicos, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Avenida Bandeirantes 3900, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Received 28 April 2008 – Revised 1 December 2008 – Accepted 20 January 2009 - Published online 8 August 2009

Abstract - The mating sign that each drone leaves when mating with a queen essentially consists of mucus gland proteins. We employed a Representational Difference Analysis (RDA) methodology to identify genes that are differentially expressed in mucus glands during sexual maturation of drones. The RDA library for mucus glands of newly emerged drones was more complex than that of 8 day-old drones, with matches to 20 predicted genes. Another 26 reads matched to the Apis genome but not to any predicted gene. Since these ESTs were located within ORFs they may represent novel honey bee genes, possibly fast evolving mucus gland proteins. In the RDA library for mucus glands of 8 day-old drones, most reads corresponded to a capsid protein of deformed wing virus, indicating high viral loads in these glands. The expression of two genes encoding venom allergens, acid phosphatase-1 and hyaluronidase, in drone mucus glands argues for their homology with the female venom glands, both associated with the reproductive system.

Key words: male accessory gland / Representational Difference Analysis / honeybee / reproduction / deformed wing virus

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009