Breaking News
March 18, 2019 - Fibromyalgia can be reliably detected in blood samples
March 18, 2019 - Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging, LLC Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Losartan Potassium Tablets, USP, 25mg, 50mg, And 100mg Due to The Detection of Trace Amounts Of N-Nitroso N-Methyl 4-Amino Butyric Acid (NMBA) Impurity Found in The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)
March 18, 2019 - Researchers identify early home and family factors that contribute to obesity
March 18, 2019 - Fate and festivity: Match Day 2019
March 18, 2019 - Study finds TAVR to be as good as open-heart surgery for patients at low surgical risk
March 18, 2019 - EU-funded project is developing new tools for diagnosing cancer
March 18, 2019 - Gluten, lactose, food dyes in pills could be causing side effects finds study
March 18, 2019 - Taking painkillers during pregnancy is not responsible for asthma risk in children, study shows
March 18, 2019 - Prediagnosis Psychiatric Care Linked to Worse Cancer Mortality
March 18, 2019 - Paris hospital halts stool study after donor deluge
March 18, 2019 - Partial oral antibiotic therapy shows efficacy and safety in patients with infectious endocarditis
March 18, 2019 - Olympus improves access to science education through BioBus collaboration
March 18, 2019 - Depression screening does not improve quality of life in heart attack patients
March 18, 2019 - Echocardiography may aid in patient selection for TMVR
March 18, 2019 - Are ‘Inactive’ Ingredients in Your Drugs Really So Harmless?
March 18, 2019 - Wearable technology can safely identify atrial fibrillation
March 18, 2019 - Scientists tackle rare retinal disease in unique research project
March 18, 2019 - Death By A Thousand Clicks
March 18, 2019 - Absorbable, antibiotic-eluting envelope can reduce rate of cardiac device infections
March 18, 2019 - Hormonal treatment associated with depression in men with prostate cancer
March 18, 2019 - Porvair Sciences launches reinforced 96-well deep round microplate
March 18, 2019 - Simplified catheter ablation could slash waiting lists for atrial fibrillation patients
March 18, 2019 - BFR therapy as part of rehabilitation following ACL surgery may slow bone loss
March 18, 2019 - A human model to test implants for cataract surgery
March 18, 2019 - New risk adjustment model could reduce financial penalty for safety net hospitals
March 18, 2019 - NHS cancer patients’ wait to start treatment worrying
March 18, 2019 - Inventiva Announces Results from Phase IIb Clinical Trial with Lanifibranor in Systemic Sclerosis
March 18, 2019 - Cologuard
March 18, 2019 - Researchers find evidence of prenatal environment tuning genomic imprinting
March 18, 2019 - Dolomite Bio launches novel Nadia product family for single-cell research
March 18, 2019 - Intellipharmaceutics Announces Resubmission of New Drug Application to the U.S. FDA for its Oxycodone ER
March 18, 2019 - Excessive gestational weight gain tied to maternal morbidity
March 18, 2019 - RCEM issues position statement on metrics to supplement four-hour standard target
March 17, 2019 - Noncontrast Brain MRI Effective for Monitoring Multiple Sclerosis
March 17, 2019 - Brain region plays key role in regulation of parenting behavior, study finds
March 17, 2019 - Natural speed limit on DNA replication sets pace for life’s first steps
March 17, 2019 - New research reveals overlooked impact of herbicide glyphosate on the environment
March 17, 2019 - Molecular patterns could help predict relapse risk in breast cancer patients
March 17, 2019 - Study confirms sensitivity of microbiological cultures for detecting cholera
March 17, 2019 - Scientists Spot Clues to Predicting Breast Cancer’s Return
March 17, 2019 - Scientists identify gene that keeps PTSD-like behavior at bay in female mice
March 17, 2019 - New method would allow doctors to detect earliest stages of cancers in the lymph nodes
March 17, 2019 - Cholesterol protein discovery raises hope for smarter drugs
March 17, 2019 - New insect medium delivers high viable cell density growth and protein yield
March 17, 2019 - Opioid crisis brings concerns about heart dangers
March 17, 2019 - Resistance Training May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Progression
March 17, 2019 - Bioluminescence sensors make new approaches to drug discovery possible
March 17, 2019 - New FDA Rules Aim to Keep Kids From Flavored E-Cigarettes
March 17, 2019 - Vitamin B3 analogue boosts production of blood cells
March 17, 2019 - Government cuts to stop smoking services have detrimental impact on public health
March 17, 2019 - Common tool to assess potential adoptive parents lags behind societal changes
March 17, 2019 - Patients’ own cells could be the key to treating Crohn’s disease
March 17, 2019 - Diagnostic delays common in inflammatory bowel disease
March 17, 2019 - Study uncovers dramatic differences in the brains of Hispanics with dementia
March 17, 2019 - Study describes epigenetic loss that changes how cells obtain energy from cancer
March 16, 2019 - Active Bathing in Non-ICU Setting Does Not Cut Infections
March 16, 2019 - How the immune system maintains a healthy gut microbiota
March 16, 2019 - Bacteria ‘trap’ could help in the fight against antimicrobial resistance
March 16, 2019 - Hospital work environment associated with all EHR usability outcomes
March 16, 2019 - Study unravels mystery behind how the brain encodes time when forming long-term memories
March 16, 2019 - Light physical activity may lower risk of cardiovascular disease in older women
March 16, 2019 - USP15 enzyme could potentially lead to new treatments for breast, pancreatic cancer
March 16, 2019 - After Chinese Infant Gene-Editing Scandal, U.S. Health Officials Join Call for a Ban
March 16, 2019 - PACS1 syndrome – Genetics Home Reference
March 16, 2019 - Researchers discover an unexpected organization of antimicrobial molecules that amplifies immune response
March 16, 2019 - With New Study, Era of Open-Heart Surgery for Aortic Stenosis May be Ending
March 16, 2019 - Dolomite Bio introduces high throughput sNuc-Seq protocol for its Nadia Instrument
March 16, 2019 - New course prepares materials scientists for biomedical testing
March 16, 2019 - Finding clues to a functional HIV cure
March 16, 2019 - People with chronic periodontitis have higher risk for dementia
March 16, 2019 - Few heart care recommendations are based on rigorous study
March 16, 2019 - Colorectal cancer diagnosed at early age is distinct from that in older patients
March 16, 2019 - Researchers use MRI and AI techniques at birth to predict cognitive development at age 2
March 16, 2019 - Discarding information from the brain linked to more mental effort, finds study
March 16, 2019 - OTA International supplement provides current snapshot and forward look at global trauma systems
March 16, 2019 - NIH trial to track outcomes of liver transplantation from HIV+ donors to HIV+ recipients
March 16, 2019 - Apple Heart Study shows how wearable technology can help detect heart problem
March 16, 2019 - Researchers determine factors that cause stress development in the human body
March 16, 2019 - Elderly Men Undertreated for Osteoporosis
March 16, 2019 - People with chronic pain are coping with the help of Pinterest, new study reveals
Researchers deconstruct royal jelly that determines honeybee hierarchy

Researchers deconstruct royal jelly that determines honeybee hierarchy

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Katharina Paschinger’s father, a conservation chemist in Vienna, was a devoted beekeeper. Paschinger remembers fondly that he would bring royal jelly, an important food for bee larvae, as a gift on visits to her maternal grandmother. “He would feed it to my grandma and tell her it was for long life and beauty,” Paschinger said. “And actually, she lived to be 98.”

Royal jelly is widely believed to have health benefits, although the medical evidence is scarce (and doctors caution that some people have severe allergic reactions). One thing the substance certainly does is promote caste development in honeybees, causing genetically identical larvae to develop into very different adults. All bee larvae eat royal jelly secreted by worker bees for the first few days of life, but those picked out to be queens continue to eat it until they pupate and beyond, whereas those that will become workers switch to honey and pollen. Biologists believe molecular signals in royal jelly drive larval bees to develop into queens, but the details of that signaling — including what molecule is most important and how it is recognized — are not yet clear.

Questions along that line brought Katharina Paschinger, a chemist, to revisit royal jelly this year in research published in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. Paschinger and colleagues in Iain Wilson’s lab at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna focus on glycoproteins, proteins to which a chain of sugar molecules is attached. These sugar chains, called glycans, can dramatically affect proteins’ binding and signaling activities.

Previous studies of royal jelly glycoproteins had mostly found classes of glycans known as oligomannosidic and simple hybrids. As these contain no special recognition elements, they could not explain the unique effect of royal jelly on larval fate. But Paschinger, her colleagues and some other scientists recently began to find more complex glycan structures in several insect species, such as mosquitoes and moths. Their data, Paschinger said, challenged “a really long-held belief that insects only synthesize oligomannosidic glycans. You see these statements everywhere. It’s a nightmare to read such simplifications.”

The diversity in other insects’ glycans was a reason to suspect that royal jelly glycoproteins also had hidden depth. Royal jelly, available in bulk at health food stores, was a good candidate for a combined glycomic and glycoproteomic analysis, said first author Alba Hykollari. “If you have a sample and you want to start with glycomics, the first question is how much you have and how pure is it. We were quite lucky: We got a lot of royal jelly, and it was very pure.”

To determine the structure of the glycans in royal jelly, Hykollari used enzymes to isolate the glycans from proteins and added chemical tags. She separated the tagged glycans using liquid chromatography and analyzed them using a mass spectrometer, an instrument that breaks molecules into smaller pieces and separates them by size and charge.

Paschinger analyzed the data to draw conclusions about the glycan structures. First, she compared fragmentation patterns to precursor molecules, making inferences about the glycans’ structures from how they broke apart. Then, she suggested specific chemical or enzymatic treatments to test those hypotheses.

Because glycans are modular chains, like Legos, breaking off one unit at a time can give a good idea of how the whole fits together. For example, phosphoethanolamine, a subunit the team observed in royal jelly, blocks digestion by some enzymes, but it can be removed using hydrofluoric acid. If glycan fragments of a certain mass appeared after treatment with hydrofluoric acid, it was a clue that phosphoethanolamine was present.

“I would say that the N-glycome of royal jelly was definitely underestimated,” said Hykollari. Of the approximately 100 glycan structures the team defined, many had not been observed before in bees. Their laboratory’s exclusive focus on glycan biochemistry and their extremely sensitive mass spectrometer helped the research team determine the identity of scarce glycans, said Hykollari. “We have worked (on glycans) for many years, so I would say our workflow is optimized.”

Knowing these structures could help future scientists understand the activity of glycosylated proteins in royal jelly–either how they designate larval bees as future queens or how they trip allergic alarms in the human immune system. For example, said Paschinger, a researcher could synthesize a glycan from royal jelly to see how it interacts with signaling proteins in the larva. Their own plans moving forward are to tackle the glycome of another species. “Our driving force is understanding glycoevolution,” said Paschinger. “But very often we’re also driven by the element of challenge.”

The research team dedicated their manuscript to Paschinger’s father, the chemist-beekeeper. “I am sure he would have been very happy to see something scientific come out of his beekeeping hobby,” said Paschinger.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles