Vitellogenin regulates hormonal dynamics in the worker caste of a eusocial insect

Karina R. Guidugli, Adriana M. Nascimento, Gro Amdam, Angel R. Barchuk, Stig Omholt, Zilá L P Simões, Klaus Hartfelder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

260 Scopus citations


Functionally sterile honey bee workers synthesize the yolk protein vitellogenin while performing nest tasks. The subsequent shift to foraging is linked to a reduced vitellogenin and an increased juvenile hormone (JH) titer. JH is a principal controller of vitellogenin expression and behavioral development. Yet, we show here that silencing of vitellogenin expression causes a significant increase in JH titer and its putative receptor. Mathematically, the increase corresponds to a dynamic dose-response. This role of vitellogenin in the tuning of the endocrine system is uncommon and may elucidate how an ancestral pathway of fertility regulation has been remodeled into a novel circuit controlling social behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4961-4965
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - Sep 12 2005


  • Age polyethism
  • Honey bee
  • Juvenile hormone
  • Ultraspiracle
  • Vitellogenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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