Acta Entomologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 65 ›› Issue (10): 1374-1388.doi: 10.16380/j.kcxb.2022.10.014

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Research progress in the morphology and function of honeybee fat body

WANG Rong-Hua, MENG Li-Feng, WEI Qiao-Hong, LI Jian-Ke*   

  1.  (Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100091, China)
  • Online:2022-10-20 Published:2022-11-27

Abstract:  Fat body is a multifunctional organ in insects, similar to the liver of vertebrates, and is distributed in the abdomen, thorax and even the head cavity of insects, with the abdominal fat body being the most developed. The fat bodies of honeybees can be divided into two types, peripheral fat body and perivisceral fat body, and are composed of trophocytes, urocytes and oenocytes. As in other insects, the fat body plays an important role in life activities in honeybees, and its morphology and function vary with the developmental stage, season, and division of labor. The structure of fat body is relatively simple, but its physiological function is very complex. The major function of fat body is the storage and metabolism of energy substances. Fat body is not only a central storage pool of nutrients (i.e., lipids, carbohydrates and proteins) for honeybees, but also an intermediate station for nutrient metabolism, with a variety of enzymatic systems for the interconversion of energy and substances, undertaking the supply of metabolic water and synthesizing purines and pyrimidines and many important proteins. At the same time, fat body is the exchange center for various hormonal and nutritional signals during insect development and behavior regulation, and fat body hormones and nutritional signals are involved in regulating fat body development, nutrient metabolism, reproduction and labor division in honeybees. Fat body has a variety of functions including energy storage and release, biosynthesis and catabolism, regulation of nutrient perception, integration of metabolic signals, endocrine regulation, immunity and detoxification, magnetic field perception, improved cold resistance, and protection of organs in the body cavity. Given the important roles of the fat body, a review of the research progresses in the morphology and function of honeybee fat body can provide references and ideas for the analysis of insect nutritional signaling pathways, highquality bee species breeding and control of honeybee diseases.

Key words: Honeybee, fat body, trophocytes, urocytes, oenocytes, hormone, nutritional signal