Conference European Comparative Endocrinologists edition:24 location:Genua, Italy date:2-6 September 2008
The honeybee is one of the economically most important insects and a model for studying immunity, development and social behaviour. Hence, its genome was sequenced and annotated. An intensive interplay between bioinformatics and mass spectrometry (MS) resulted in the annotation of 36 neuropeptide genes (Hummon et al. 2006). Exactly 100 peptides, belonging to 18 genes, were demonstrated by MS. In a follow-up study we dissected and analysed separately all the ganglia of the CNS. The result is a mass spectrometric mapping of 20 neuropeptide precursors presented by not les than 66 peptides. We show the expression of one additional but already predicted neuropeptide. Besides putative bioactive peptides we detected truncated peptides and so called spacer peptides. Most of the latter had a more restricted distribution pattern. Their presence might yield information on the turnover of their precursors and/or the location of neural cell bodies in which they are produced. Neuropeptides with the widest distribution pattern are likely to be the best candidates to interact with receptors.
Our data compliment future or past immunohistochemical studies of neuropeptides in the honeybee. Furthermore they form a basis for comparative studies with better studied insects (Drosophila) or insects (Arthropods) with recent or upcoming genome projects. Finally, these data are a starting point for physiological, functional and/or differential peptidomics studies in the honey bee.