Chemical Biology - Supplementary Info

Chemical Biology - Supplementary Info - Chem 1AA3 -...

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Chem 1AA3 - Chemical Biology 1 Brainwashing Bees, Drug Discovery, and Aromaticity Vergoz, V., Schreurs, H. A., Mercer, A. R. Science (2007) 317:384-386, Queen Pheromone Blocks Aversive Learning in Young Worker Bees Bee Story Homovanillyl alcohol (HVA) is one component of queen mandibular pheromone (QMP). QMP causes young workers to feed and groom her. At the colony level, QMP suppresses new queens, influences comb- building, prevents workers' ovaries from developing, and modulates their development. Mercer's group showed that young bees exposed to QMP had altered dopamine levels in their brains. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and hormone, and is required by insects for aversion learning (learning how to avoid unpleasant stimuli). In this experiment, bees were exposed to an odour, then given a mild electric shock. Normal bees soon learned to try to sting as soon as they detected the odour. They did not react to other odours (negative control experiment). When exposed to QMP, or HVA alone, bees never learned to sting in response to the odour. Other components of QMP had no effect. HO HO NH 3 + dopamine O HO OH homovanillyl alcohol (HVA) QMP and HVA had no effect on appetitive learning (learning how to seek pleasant stimuli). Bees were exposed to an odour, then given sugar water. They learned to extend their proboscises in response to the odour in the presence or absence of QMP or HVA. So, HVA prevents young bees from forming bad memories, but does not affect their ability form pleasant memories. Why? We're not sure, but there is evidence that other components of QMP are unpleasant to bees (high QMP concentrations repel worker bees and cause aggressive behaviour), and that high HVA levels in the hive are associated with the queen's survival. It is possible that queen bees use HVA to "brainwash" young worker bees and ensure their own survival. Older bees
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Chemical Biology - Supplementary Info - Chem 1AA3 -...

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