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You Li, Zhi Jiang Zeng and Zi Long Wang

Abstract

Sacbrood virus (SBV) is one of the most common and harmful viruses to honeybees. It causes failure to pupate and death during larval stage, in adult bees it has an influence on their behavior and even shortens their life-span. In this study, we analyzed the phylogenetic relationships among the SBV isolates from all around the world, with from both Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. Phylogenetic trees were constructed based on three types of nucleotide sequences: complete genome sequence, VP1 gene and SB1-2 fragment of SBV. Moreover, genome recombination analysis was performed to assess the effect of genome recombination on the evolutionary relationship of some SBV isolates. The phylogenetic trees showed that although all the SBV isolates form two major groups, these two groups were not formed strictly according to their host specificity or geographical origin. These results indicate that both host specificity and geographic origin decide the genetic diversity of SBV strains.

Open access

Cui Guan, Zhi Jiang Zeng, Zi Long Wang, Wei Yu Yan and Qi Zhong Pan

Summary

The queen and worker bees have the same genetic makeup. However, the queen differs dramatically from the workers in anatomy, physiology, behavior, and lifespan. Three genes (sir2, ash2, and hdac1) have been shown to be associated with histone methylation and acetylation as well as longevity in worms and flies. The relative expression level of these genes was examined in the heads of queens and workers at different developmental stages. The sir2, ash2, and hdac1 expression levels in newly emerged queens, egg-laying queens, and egg-laying workers were significantly higher than those in newly emerged workers, nurses, and foragers. We conclude that these genes are possibly “queen-like” genes.

Open access

Yuan Yuan Shi, Zachary Y. Huang, Xiao Bo Wu, Zi Long Wang, Wei Yu Yan and Zhi Jiang Zeng

Abstract

The Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is a social insect characterized by caste differentiation in which the queen bee and worker bees display marked differences in morphology, behavior, reproduction, and longevity despite their identical genomes. The main causative factor in caste differentiation is the food fed to queen larvae, termed royal jelly (RJ). Alternative splicing (AS) is an important RNA-mediated post-transcriptional process in eukaryotes. Here we report AS changes in A. mellifera after being fed either A. mellifera RJ or A. cerana RJ. The results demonstrated that the RJ type affected 4 types of AS in adult A. mellifera: exon skipping, intron retention, alternative 5’ splice sites, and alternative 3’splice sites. After feeding with A. cerana RJ, AS occurred in many genes in adult A. mellifera that encode proteins involved in development, growth, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and substance metabolism. This study provides the first evidence that heterospecific RJ can influence the AS of many genes related to honey bee development and growth.