Changes in Honey Bee Head Proteome in Response to Dietary 24-Methylenecholesterol
Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 August 2020 / Revised: 8 October 2020 / Accepted: 27 October 2020 / Published: 29 October 2020
Phytosterols are important micronutrients that are essential for production of insect molting hormones and cellular membrane integrity. Past research has shown that the key phytosterol that honey bees need is 24-methylenecholesterol. This phytosterol improves honey bee longevity and sustains brood production. Hence, it is important to understand how 24-methylenecholesterol can shape honey bee physiology by altering protein profiles of vital honey bee tissues. Nurse bees secrete glandular secretions (brood food) using hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands in their head regions. Further, it has been shown that this sterol is selectively accumulated in nurse bee heads. Thus, it is imperative to examine the protein profiles of nurse bee heads, in response to dietary 24-methylenecholesterol manipulation. In this study, groups of newly emerged nurse bees were fed with varying concentrations of dietary 24-methylenecholesterol, while the control groups received no sterol. We found that dietary sterol manipulation altered the protein profiles in nurse bee heads, with important nutritional marker proteins being upregulated in high dietary sterol groups. The important proteins identified in this study may serve as vital markers of nutritional stress related to sterols in honey bees, paving the way for future research on bee nutrition.