Vitellogenin and vitellogenin receptor gene expression is associated with male and female parenting in a subsocial insect

Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Eileen M Roy-ZokanAllen J Moore


Complex social behaviour in Hymenoptera has been hypothesized to evolve by co-opting reproductive pathways (the ovarian ground plan hypothesis, OGPH) and gene networks (the reproductive ground plan hypothesis, RGPH). In support of these hypotheses, in eusocial Hymenoptera where there is reproductive division of labour, the yolk precursor protein vitellogenin (Vg) influences the expression of worker social behaviour. We suggest that co-opting genes involved in reproduction may occur more generally than just in the evolution of eusociality; i.e. underlie earlier stages of social evolution such as the evolution of parental care, given that reproduction and parental care rarely overlap. We therefore examined vitellogenin (vg) gene expression associated with parental care in the subsocial beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides. We found a significant reduction in the expression of vg and its receptor, vgr, in head tissue during active parental care, and confirmed that the receptor is expressed in the brains of both sexes. Ours is the first study to show that vgr is expressed in the brain of a non-eusocial insect. Given the association between behaviour and gene expression in both sexes, and the presence of vitellogenin receptors in the bra...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Biochemical Pathway
Nicrophorus vespilloides
Hormone Receptors, Cell Surface
Egg White Proteins
Order Coleoptera
Vitellogenin II
Gene Expression

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