Changes in Alternative Splicing in Apis Mellifera Bees Fed Apis Cerana Royal Jelly

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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.

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Journal of Apicultural Science

The Journal of Research Institute of Horticulture and Apicultural Research Association

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