Table_5_Antennal Protein Profile in Honeybees: Caste and Task Matter More Than Age.PDF

Reproductive and task partitioning in large colonies of social insects suggest that colony members belonging to different castes or performing different tasks during their life (polyethism) may produce specific semiochemicals and be differently sensitive to the variety of pheromones involved in intraspecific chemical communication. The main peripheral olfactory organs are the antennal chemosensilla, where the early olfactory processes take place. At this stage, members of two different families of soluble chemosensory proteins [odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) and chemosensory proteins (CSPs)] show a remarkable affinity for different odorants and act as carriers while a further family, the Niemann-Pick type C2 proteins (NPC2) may have a similar function, although this has not been fully demonstrated. Sensillar lymph also contains Odorant degrading enzymes (ODEs) which are involved in inactivation through degradation of the chemical signals, once the message is conveyed. Despite their importance in chemical communication, little is known about how proteins involved in peripheral olfaction and, more generally antennal proteins, differ in honeybees of different caste, task and age. Here, we investigate for the first time, using a shotgun proteomic approach, the antennal profile of honeybees of different castes (queens and workers) and workers performing different tasks (nurses, guards, and foragers) by controlling for the potential confounding effect of age. Regarding olfactory proteins, major differences were observed between queens and workers, some of which were found to be more abundant in queens (OBP3, OBP18, and NPC2-1) and others to be more abundant in workers (OBP15, OBP21, CSP1, and CSP3); while between workers performing different tasks, OBP14 was more abundant in nurses with respect to guards and foragers. Apart from proteins involved in olfaction, we have found that the antennal proteomes are mainly characterized by castes and tasks, while age has no effect on antennal protein profile. Among the main differences, the strong decrease in vitellogenins found in guards and foragers is not associated with age.