Aggression is associated with aerobic glycolysis in the honey bee brain1

S. Chandrasekaran, C. C. Rittschof, D. Djukovic, H. Gu, D. Raftery, N. D. Price, G. E. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aerobic glycolysis involves increased glycolysis and decreased oxidative catabolism of glucose even in the presence of an ample oxygen supply. Aerobic glycolysis, a common metabolic pattern in cancer cells, was recently discovered in both the healthy and diseased human brain, but its functional significance is not understood. This metabolic pattern in the brain is surprising because it results in decreased efficiency of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production in a tissue with high energetic demands. We report that highly aggressive honey bees (Apis mellifera) show a brain transcriptomic and metabolic state consistent with aerobic glycolysis, i.e. increased glycolysis in combination with decreased oxidative phosphorylation. Furthermore, exposure to alarm pheromone, which provokes aggression, causes a metabolic shift to aerobic glycolysis in the bee brain. We hypothesize that this metabolic state, which is associated with altered neurotransmitter levels, increased glycolytically derived ATP and a reduced cellular redox state, may lead to increased neuronal excitability and oxidative stress in the brain. Our analysis provides evidence for a robust, distinct and persistent brain metabolic response to aggression-inducing social cues. This finding for the first time associates aerobic glycolysis with naturally occurring behavioral plasticity, which has important implications for understanding both healthy and diseased brain function. We report that highly aggressive honeybees (Apis mellifera) show a brain transcriptomic and metabolic state consistent with aerobic glycolysis, i.e., increased glycolysis in combination with decreased oxidative phosphorylation. Aerobic glycolysis, a common metabolic pattern in cancer cells, was recently discovered in both the healthy and diseased human brain, but its functional significance is not understood. Our study for the first time associates aerobic glycolysis with naturally occurring behavioral plasticity, which has important implications for understanding both healthy and diseased brain function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-166
Number of pages9
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Keywords

  • Aerobic glycolysis
  • Aggression
  • Brain metabolism
  • Metabolomics
  • Neurogenomics
  • Transcriptomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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    Chandrasekaran, S., Rittschof, C. C., Djukovic, D., Gu, H., Raftery, D., Price, N. D., & Robinson, G. E. (2015). Aggression is associated with aerobic glycolysis in the honey bee brain1. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 14(2), 158-166. https://doi.org/10.1111/gbb.12201