The capping pheromones and putative biosynthetic pathways in worker and drone larvae of honey bees Apis mellifera
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In honey bees (Apis mellifera), methyl palmitate (MP), methyl oleate (MO), methyl linoleate (ML), and methyl linolenate (MLN) are important pheromone components of the capping pheromones triggering the capping behavior of worker bees. In this study, we compared the amounts of these four pheromone components in the larvae of workers and drones, prior to be capped, in the process of being capped and had been capped. The amounts of MP, MO, and MLN peaked at the capping larval stage, and ML was highest at capped larvae in worker larvae, whereas in drone larvae, the amounts of the four pheromone components were higher overall and increased with aging. Furthermore, we proposed de novo biosynthetic pathways for MP, MO, ML, and ML, from acetyl-CoA. Besides, stable isotope tracer 13C and deuterium were used to confirm that these capping pheromone components were de novo synthesized by larvae themselves rather than from their diets.
Keywordshoney bee larvae capping pheromones pathways
We thank Prof. Junwu Ma for help on biosynthetic pathway analysis and Dr. Qiang Huang for revising the manuscript.
QHQ, XJH, and WJJ conducted all experiments; ZJJ designed the experiments; QHQ, XJH, and ABB wrote the paper; and LG participated in experiments and data analysis.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31572469, 31872432) and the Earmarked Fund for China Agriculture Research System (CARS-44-KXJ15).
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