PloS one

Proteomic analysis in the Dufour's gland of Africanized Apis mellifera workers (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

PMID 28542566


The colony of eusocial bee Apis mellifera has a reproductive queen and sterile workers performing tasks such as brood care and foraging. Chemical communication plays a crucial role in the maintenance of sociability in bees with many compounds released by the exocrine glands. The Dufour's gland is a non-paired gland associated with the sting apparatus with important functions in the communication between members of the colony, releasing volatile chemicals that influence workers roles and tasks. However, the protein content in this gland is not well studied. This study identified differentially expressed proteins in the Dufour's glands of nurse and forager workers of A. mellifera through 2D-gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. A total of 131 spots showed different expression between nurse and forager bees, and 28 proteins were identified. The identified proteins were categorized into different functions groups including protein, carbohydrate, energy and lipid metabolisms, cytoskeleton-associated proteins, detoxification, homeostasis, cell communication, constitutive and allergen. This study provides new insights of the protein content in the Dufour's gland contributing to a more complete understanding of the biological functions of this gland in honeybees.