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Tissue-specific transcriptional patterns underlie seasonal phenotypes in honey bees (Apis mellifera)
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  • Sean Bresnahan,
  • Mehmet Döke,
  • Tugrul Giray,
  • Christina Grozinger
Sean Bresnahan
The Pennsylvania State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Mehmet Döke
University of Puerto Rico
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Tugrul Giray
University of Puerto Rico
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Christina Grozinger
The Pennsylvania State University
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Faced with adverse conditions, such as winter in temperate regions or hot and dry conditions in tropical regions, many insect species enter a state of diapause, a period of dormancy associated with a reduction or arrest of physical activity, development, and reproduction. Changes in common physiological pathways underlie diapause phenotypes in different insect species. However, most transcriptomic studies of diapause have not simultaneously evaluated and compared expression patterns in different tissues. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) represent a unique model system to study the mechanisms underpinning diapause. In winter, honey bees exhibit a classic diapause phenotype, with reduced metabolic activity, increased physiological nutritional resources, and altered hormonal profiles. However, winter bees actively heat their colony by vibrating their wing muscles; thus, this tissue is not quiescent. Here, we evaluated the transcriptional profiles of flight muscle tissue and fat body tissue (involved in nutrient storage, metabolism and immune function) of winter bees. We also evaluated two behavioral phenotypes of summer bees: nurses, which exhibit high nutritional stores and low flight activity, and foragers, which exhibit low nutritional stores and high flight activity. We found winter bees and nurses have similar fat body transcriptional profiles compared to foragers, whereas winter bees and foragers have similar flight muscle transcriptional profiles compared to nurses. Additionally, differentially expressed genes were enriched in diapause-related GO terms. Thus, honey bees exhibit tissue-specific transcriptional profiles associated with diapause, laying the groundwork for future studies evaluating the mechanisms, evolution, and consequences of this tissue-specific regulation.
17 Jun 2021Submitted to Molecular Ecology
17 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
17 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
06 Jul 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Jul 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Aug 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
02 Sep 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
02 Sep 20211st Revision Received
09 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
19 Sep 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Sep 20212nd Revision Received
27 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
Jan 2022Published in Molecular Ecology volume 31 issue 1 on pages 174-184. 10.1111/mec.16220