3 years ago

Candidate genes for cooperation and aggression in the social wasp Polistes dominula

Mark J. F. Brown, Amy L. Toth, Fabio Manfredini

Abstract

Cooperation and aggression are ubiquitous in social groups, and the genetic mechanisms underlying these behaviours are of great interest for understanding how social group formation is regulated and how it evolves. In this study, we used a candidate gene approach to investigate the patterns of expression of key genes for cooperation and aggression in the brain of a primitively eusocial wasp, Polistes dominula, during colony founding, when multiple foundresses can join the same nest and establish subtle hierarchies of dominance. We used a comparative approach to select candidate genes for cooperation and aggression looking at two previously published studies on global gene expression in wasps and ants. We tested the expression of these genes in P. dominula wasps that were either displaying aggressive behaviour (dominant and single foundresses) or cooperation (subordinate foundresses and workers) towards nestmates. One gene in particular, the egg yolk protein vitellogenin, known for its reproductive role in insects, displayed patterns of expression that strongly matched wasp social rank. We characterize the genomic context of vitellogenin by building a head co-expression gene network for P. dominula, and we discuss a potential role for vitellogenin as a mediator of social interactions in wasps.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00359-018-1252-6

DOI: 10.1007/s00359-018-1252-6

You might also like
Never Miss Important Research

Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.