›› 2010, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (3): 335-348.doi:

• RESEARCH PAPERS • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Pleiotropic functions of insect vitellogenin:With honey bee Apis mellifera as an example

YAN Ying, PENG Lu, WAN Fang-Hao   

  • Online:2010-05-07 Published:2010-03-20

Abstract: Vitellogenin is the key factor in vitellogenesis in insects. As RNA interference was applied, pleiotropic functions of vitellogenin in honey bee Apis mellifera were discovered, including climate adaption, ovary activation, reproductive competition, labor differentiation, behavior formation, life extension and food conversion. Thus, A. mellifera vitellogenin was also called “pleiotropic protein”. Many theories such as “double repressor hypothesis”, “feedback loop mechanism” and “vitellogenin-to-jelly mechanism” were proposed to explain the function and regulation of vitellogenin. All these studies suggested that this protein has been upgraded from a downstream factor in female reproductive physiology to a major life cycle regulator in the highly eusocial honeybees. Studies on vitellogenin in honey bee not only promoted the research in insect sociobiology considerably, but also provided a new aspect to study the insects with complex reproductive behavior. Here research progress in pleiotropic functions of insect vitellogenin is reviewed with A. mellifera as an example, including its physicochemical properties, molecular evolution, occurrence, regulation, pleiotropic effects and research methods.

Key words: Insect, Apis mellifera, vitellogenin, physical and chemical properties, occurrence, regulation, pleiotropic functions