Comparative proteomics reveal characteristics of life-history transitions in a social insect

Florian Wolschin, Gro Amdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: Honey bee (Apis mellifera) workers are characterized by complex social behavior. Their life-history is dominated by a period of within-nest activity followed by a phase of long-distance flights and foraging. General insights into insect metabolism imply that foraging onset is associated with fundamental metabolic changes, and theory on social evolution suggests metabolic adaptations that are advantageous for the colony as a whole. Results: Here we address the life-history characteristics of workers with LC-MS/MS based relative quantification of major proteins. Our approach includes: i. Calculation of a false positive rate for the identifications, ii. Support of relative protein quantification results obtained from spectral count by non-parametric statistics, and iii. Correction for Type 1 error inflation using a bootstrap iteration analysis. Our data are consistent with the use of glucose as the main fuel for honey bee flight. Moreover, the data delivers information on the expression of ATPsynthases/ATPases, and provide new insights into nurse- and forager-specific patterns of protection against oxidative stress. Conclusion: The results show the suitability of this approach to investigate fundamental biochemical changes in an insect, and provide new evidence for metabolic specializations that occur during the social ontogeny of worker honey bees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalProteome Science
StatePublished - Jul 17 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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