Plant microRNAs in larval food regulate honeybee caste development
By: Kegan Zhu, Mingui Liu, Zheng Fu, Zhen Zhou, Yan Kong, Hongwei Liang, Zheguang Lin, Jun Luo, Huoqing Zheng, Ping Wan, Junfeng Zhang, Ke Zen, Jiong Chen, Fuling Hu, Chen-Yu Zhang, Jie Ren, and Xi Chen
Published on August 31, 2017
For the article click here.
Honey bees are very interesting for the simple fact of their caste system. A recent study was published noting their larval nutrients is a big factor in deciphering the social class role of a bee; in females specifically queen vs working bee. Looking at plant microRNA's in royal jelly and beebread has explained some knowledge on what makes a queen bee. MicroRNA is non coding but has helped decide the phenotype along with other factors perhaps of honeybees. When comparing royal jelly to beebread, scientists found that the beebread contained more enriched microRNA as opposed to the royal jelly. When experimenting with the bee larva, the microRNA in beebread postponed development in bees. This would mean those specific bees would be smaller, causing ovary size to be smaller as well. miR162a is what targets the stimulatory gene in bees which denotes their caste.
This was all so interesting to see how noncoding miRNA can influence gene expression.
Links about microRNA in humans: