Obtaining specimens with slowed, accelerated and reversed aging in the honey bee model

Daniel Münch, Nicholas Baker, Erik M.K. Rasmussen, Ashish K. Shah, Claus D. Kreibich, Lars E. Heidem, Gro Amdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Societies of highly social animals feature vast lifespan differences between closely related individuals. Among social insects, the honey bee is the best established model to study how plasticity in lifespan and aging is explained by social factors. The worker caste of honey bees includes nurse bees, which tend the brood, and forager bees, which collect nectar and pollen. Previous work has shown that brain functions and flight performance senesce more rapidly in foragers than in nurses. However, brain functions can recover, when foragers revert back to nursing tasks. Such patterns of accelerated and reversed functional senescence are linked to changed metabolic resource levels, to alterations in protein abundance and to immune function. Vitellogenin, a yolk protein with adapted functions in hormonal control and cellular defense, may serve as a major regulatory element in a network that controls the different aging dynamics in workers. Here we describe how the emergence of nurses and foragers can be monitored, and manipulated, including the reversal from typically short-lived foragers into longer-lived nurses. Our representative results show how individuals with similar chronological age differentiate into foragers and nurse bees under experimental conditions. We exemplify how behavioral reversal from foragers back to nurses can be validated. Last, we show how different cellular senescence can be assessed by measuring the accumulation of lipofuscin, a universal biomarker of senescence. For studying mechanisms that may link social influences and aging plasticity, this protocol provides a standardized tool set to acquire relevant sample material, and to improve data comparability among future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number78
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Brain
  • Confocal
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Developmental biology
  • Gerontology
  • Insect
  • Insects
  • Invertebrate
  • Issue 78
  • Lipofuscin
  • Microscopy
  • Neurobiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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