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Analysis of the Drosophila melanogaster anti‐ovarian response to honey bee queen mandibular pheromone

Galang, K. C., Croft, J. R., Thompson, G. J., Percival‐Smith, A.
Insect molecular biology 2019 v.28 no.1 pp. 99-111
Drosophila melanogaster, T-lymphocytes, alloparental behavior, ecdysone, eggs, fruit flies, juvenile hormones, models, neurons, olfactory receptors, queen honey bees, queen substance, sodium channels, virgin females, worker honey bees
Queen mandibular pheromone (QMP) is a potent reproductive signal to which honey bee workers respond by suppressing their ovaries and adopting alloparental roles within the colony. This anti‐ovarian effect of QMP on workers can, surprisingly, be induced in other insects, including fruit flies, in which females exposed to synthetic QMP develop smaller ovaries with fewer eggs. In this study, we use the Drosophila melanogaster model to identify the components of synthetic QMP required for the anti‐ovarian effect. We found that virgin females respond strongly to 9‐oxo‐2‐decenoic acid and 10‐hydroxy‐2‐decenoic acid (10HDA), suggesting that the decenoic acid components of QMP are essential for the anti‐ovarian response. Further, a nuclear factor of activated T‐cells reporter system revealed neurones expressing the olfactory receptors Or‐56a, Or‐49b and Or‐98a are activated by QMP in the antenna. In addition, we used olfactory receptor GAL4 drivers and a neuronal activator (a neuronal activating bacterial sodium channel) to test whether the candidate neurones are potential labelled lines for a decenoic acid response. We identified Or‐49b as a potential candidate receiver of the 10HDA signal. Finally, the anti‐ovarian response to synthetic QMP is not mediated by decreasing the titre of the reproductive hormones ecdysone and juvenile hormone.