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Cloning and expression of PKG, a candidate foraging regulating gene in Vespula vulgaris

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image of Animal Biology

In honey bees, enhancement of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) expression accompanies a behavioural transition from in-hive working nursing bees towards outdoors foraging worker bees. Accordingly this gene was named amfor or Apis mellifera foraging gene. In the red harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus a gene homologue affected food seeking behaviour as well, but in this species PKG expression decreased from the onset of foraging behaviour. Since the wasp Vespula vulgaris is phylogenetically positioned between ants and bees, in this paper we tried to elucidate whether the involvement of PKG in foraging behaviour can be extended to this species and if so, whether its expression is enhanced or decreased by the transition from nursing to foraging. To enable this candidate gene approach, we first had to clone the PKG homologue from the common wasp. QPCR indicated a relevantly higher expression of Vvfor in nursing versus foraging wasps although interpretation of the results was hampered by a remarkable degree of variation as could be predicted from wasps captured in the wild as a source for mRNA extraction and quantification.

Affiliations: 1: Insect Physiology and Molecular Ethology, Department of Biology, KuLeuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; 2: Neuroplasticity and Neuroproteomics, Department of Biology, KuLeuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; 3: PCFruit, Research station of Gorsem; 3800 Sint-Truiden, Belgium; 4: Laboratory of Entomology, Department of Biology, KuLeuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; 5: Insect Physiology and Molecular Ethology, Department of Biology, KuLeuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium;, Email:


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