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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #359666

Research Project: Conservation of Genetic Diversity and Improved Storage Protocols for Agricultural Pests and Beneficial Insects

Location: Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research

Title: Insulin signaling during diapause: Expression of target insulin pathway genes in overwintering Megachile rotundata

Author
item Cambron, Lizzette - North Dakota State University
item Greenlee, Kendra - North Dakota State University
item Yocum, George

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/4/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In winter, many insects go through diapause. During this non-feeding stage, insulin signaling decreases. However, our understanding of the role of the insulin pathway in diapause is not complete. The insulin signaling pathway is known to be involved in physiological processes other than glucose regulation, such as reproduction and growth, but few studies have investigated its role in diapause. Closing the gap in knowledge about how insulin signaling is involved in diapause is crucial for understanding the physiological and biochemical changes that occur during diapause. To determine how insulin signaling is involved in diapause, Megachile rotundata were overwintered in either a lab setting at a constant 4°C or in the field in naturally fluctuating temperatures. Using qPCR, we will measure expression levels of genes in the insulin signaling pathway. Exposure to fluctuating temperatures during diapause increases survival in many insects, including the alfalfa leafcutting bee. One hypothesis explaining the increased survival is that during the high temperature period, insulin signaling and oxidative stress repair mechanisms are able to function. Therefore, we predict that bees reared in the field will have higher levels of insulin signaling genes throughout overwintering compared to bees reared in the lab at constant low temperatures. Currently farmers are unable to assess the health of overwintering M. rotundata, leading to high mortality rates from improper storage. By understanding how the insulin signaling pathway changes in overwintering bees, genes from this pathway could be used as biomarkers for healthy bees.