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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Baton Rouge, Louisiana » Honey Bee Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374598

Research Project: Using Genetics to Improve the Breeding and Health of Honey Bees

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Effects of Aversive Conditioning on Expression of Physiological Stress in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)

item BLACK, TIMOTHY - Oklahoma State University
item FOFAH, OVA - Oklahoma State University
item DINGES, CHRISTOPHER - Oklahoma State University
item ORTIZ-ALVARADO, CARLOS - University Of Puerto Rico
item Avalos, Arian
item ORTIZ-ALVARADO, YARIRA - University Of Puerto Rico
item ABRAMSON, CHARLES - Oklahoma State University

Submitted to: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2020
Publication Date: 2/1/2021
Citation: Black, T.E., Fofah, O., Dinges, C., Ortiz-Alvarado, C.A., Avalos, A., Ortiz-Alvarado, Y., Abramson, C.I. 2021. Effects of Aversive Conditioning on Expression of Physiological Stress in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera). Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 178:107363.

Interpretive Summary: Learning can be defined as a form of stress. Using honey bees, we applied an experimental approach that decoupled stress and learning components of a punishment assay. We examined resulting gene expression profiles for canonical markers of stress and learning. We show that though indeed expression profiles during learning are stress-like the act of learning mediates the level of stress.

Technical Abstract: Stress is defined as any deviation from an organism’s baseline physiological levels. Therefore, introduction of new stimuli and information, such as in learning, can be defined as a stressor. A large body of research exists examining the role that stress plays in learning, but virtually none addresses whether or not learning itself is a measurable cause of stress. The current study used a wide variety of learning centric stress responses. Researchers examined changes in expression of ten stress and learning related genes in various physiological systems in domesticated honey bees ( Apis mellifera ) as a result of exposure to an aversive conditioning task. Gene expression was examined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction following the learning task. Results indicate that learning affects expression of some stress related genes.