Differential gene expression and protein abundance evince ontogenetic bias toward castes in a primitively eusocial wasp

James H. Hunt, Florian Wolschin, Michael T. Henshaw, Thomas C. Newman, Amy L. Toth, Gro Amdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Polistes paper wasps are models for understanding conditions that may have characterized the origin of worker and queen castes and, therefore, the origin of paper wasp sociality. Polistes is "primitively eusocial" by virtue of having contextdependent caste determination and no morphological differences between castes. Even so, Polistes colonies have a temporal pattern in which most female larvae reared by the foundress become workers, and most reared by workers become future-reproductive gynes. This pattern is hypothesized to reflect development onto two pathways, which may utilize mechanisms that regulate diapause in other insects. Using expressed sequence tags (ESTs) for Polistes metricus we selected candidate genes differentially expressed in other insects in three categories: 1) diapause vs. non-diapause phenotypes and/or worker vs. queen differentiation, 2) behavioral subcastes of worker honey bees, and 3) no a priori expectation of a role in worker/gyne development. We also used a non-targeted proteomics screen to test for peptide/protein abundance differences that could reflect larval developmental divergence. We found that foundress-reared larvae (putative worker-destined) and worker-reared larvae (putative gyne-destined) differed in quantitative expression of sixteen genes, twelve of which were associated with caste and/or diapause in other insects, and they also differed in abundance of nine peptides/proteins. Some differentially-expressed genes are involved in diapause regulation in other insects, and other differentially-expressed genes and proteins are involved in the insulin signaling pathway, nutrient metabolism, and caste determination in highly social bees. Differential expression of a gene and a peptide encoding hexameric storage proteins is especially noteworthy. Although not conclusive, our results support hypotheses of 1) larval developmental pathway divergence that can lead to caste bias in adults and 2) nutritional differences as the foundation of the pathway divergence. Finally, the differential expression in Polistes larvae of genes and proteins also differentially expressed during queen vs. worker caste development in honey bees may indicate that regulatory mechanisms of caste outcomes share similarities between primitively eusocial and advanced eusocial Hymenoptera.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10674
JournalPLoS One
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Fingerprint

Polistes
Wasps
Gene expression
Social Class
diapause
Gene Expression
gene expression
Genes
queen insects
caste determination
Larva
Insects
Bees
insects
Proteins
proteins
larvae
Peptides
peptides
Honey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Differential gene expression and protein abundance evince ontogenetic bias toward castes in a primitively eusocial wasp. / Hunt, James H.; Wolschin, Florian; Henshaw, Michael T.; Newman, Thomas C.; Toth, Amy L.; Amdam, Gro.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 5, No. 5, e10674, 2010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hunt, James H. ; Wolschin, Florian ; Henshaw, Michael T. ; Newman, Thomas C. ; Toth, Amy L. ; Amdam, Gro. / Differential gene expression and protein abundance evince ontogenetic bias toward castes in a primitively eusocial wasp. In: PLoS One. 2010 ; Vol. 5, No. 5.
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