Modulation of motor behavior by dopamine and the D1-like dopamine receptor AmDOP2 in the honey bee

Julie A. Mustard, Priscilla M. Pham, Brian Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


Determining the specific molecular pathways through which dopamine affects behavior has been complicated by the presence of multiple dopamine receptor subtypes that couple to different second messenger pathways. The observation of freely moving adult bees in an arena was used to investigate the role of dopamine signaling in regulating the behavior of the honey bee. Dopamine or the dopamine receptor antagonist flupenthixol was injected into the hemolymph of worker honey bees. Significant differences between treated and control bees were seen for all behaviors (walking, stopped, upside down, grooming, flying and fanning), and behavioral shifts were dependent on drug dosage and time after injection. To examine the role of dopamine signaling through a specific dopamine receptor in the brain, RNA interference was used to reduce expression levels of a D1-like receptor, AmDOP2. Injection of Amdop2 dsRNA into the mushroom bodies reduced the levels of Amdop2 mRNA and produced significant changes in the amount of time honey bees spent performing specific behaviors with reductions in time spent walking offset by increases in grooming or time spent stopped. Taken together these results establish that dopamine plays an important role in regulating motor behavior of the honey bee.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-430
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of insect physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • Apis mellifera
  • Grooming
  • Locomotor activity
  • Mushroom body
  • RNAi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science

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