Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #365027

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: A secreted RNA binding protein forms RNA-stabilizing granules in the honeybee royal jelly

item MAORI, EYAL - University Of Cambridge
item NAVARRO, ISABELA - University Of Cambridge
item BONCRISTIANI, HUMBERTO - University Of Florida
item SEILLY, DAVID - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
item RUDOLPH, KONRAD - University Of Cambridge
item SAPETSCHING, ALEXANDRA - University Of Cambridge
item LIN, CHI-CHUAN - University Of Leeds
item LADBURY, JOHN - University Of Leeds
item Evans, Jay
item HEENEY, JONATHAN - University Of Cambridge

Submitted to: Molecular Cell
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/5/2019
Publication Date: 5/2/2019
Citation: Maori, E., Navarro, I., Boncristiani, H., Seilly, D.J., Rudolph, K., Sapetsching, A., Lin, C., Ladbury, J.E., Evans, J.D., Heeney, J. 2019. A secreted RNA binding protein forms RNA-stabilizing granules in the honeybee royal jelly. Molecular Cell. 74(3):598-608.e6.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees provision their larvae with royal jelly and worker jelly, secretions produced by nurse worker bees. It has been found that these secretions contain RNA that can affect the health of those feeding on worker jelly. This work describes a protein that helps in this process. The results are novel and have a strong potential impact on bee management and bee disease.

Technical Abstract: RNA flow between organisms has been documented within and among different kingdoms of life. Recently, we demonstrated horizontal RNA transfer between honeybees involving secretion and ingestion of worker and royal jellies. However, how the jelly facilitates transfer of RNA is still unknown. Here, we show that worker and royal jellies harbor robust RNA-binding activity. We report that a highly abundant jelly component, major royal jelly protein 3 (MRJP-3), acts as an extracellular non-sequence-specific RNA-aggregating factor. Multivalent RNA binding stimulates higher-order assembly of MRJP-3 into extracellular ribonucleoprotein granules that protect RNA from degradation and enhance RNA bioavailability. These findings reveal that honeybees have evolved a secreted dietary RNA-binding factor to concentrate, stabilize, and share RNA among individuals. Our work identifies high-order ribonucleoprotein assemblies with functions outside cells and organisms.