Dopamine (DA) and tyramine (TA) have neurohormonal roles in the production of reproductive workers in queenless colonies of honey bees, but the regulation of these biogenic amines in the brain are still largely unclear. Nutrition is an important factor in promoting reproduction and might be involved in the regulation of these biogenic amines in the brain. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effect of oral treatments of tyrosine (Tyr; a common precursor of DA, TA and octopamine, and a component of royal jelly) in queenless workers and quantified the resulting production of biogenic amines. Tyrosine treatments enhanced the levels of DA, TA and their metabolites in the brain. Workers fed royal jelly had significantly larger brain levels of Tyr, DA, TA and the metabolites in the brains compared with those bees fed honey or sucrose (control). Treatment with Tyr also inhibited the behavior of workers outside of the hive and promoted ovarian development. These results suggest that there is a link between nutrition and the regulation of DA and TA in the brain to promote the production of reproductive workers in queenless honey bee colonies.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.