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Authors: Caminer, Marcel A.
Libbrecht, Romain
Majoe, Megha
Ho, David V.
Baumann, Peter
Foitzik, Susanne
Title: Task-specific odorant receptor expression in worker antennae indicates that sensory filters regulate division of labor in ants
Online publication date: 8-Jan-2024
Year of first publication: 2023
Language: english
Abstract: Division of labor (DOL) is a characteristic trait of insect societies, where tasks are generally performed by specialized individuals. Inside workers focus on brood or nest care, while others take risks by foraging outside. Theory proposes that workers have different thresholds to perform certain tasks when confronted with task-related stimuli, leading to specialization and consequently DOL. Workers are presumed to vary in their response to task-related cues rather than in how they perceive such information. Here, we test the hypothesis that DOL instead stems from workers varying in their efficiency to detect stimuli of specific tasks. We use transcriptomics to measure mRNA expression levels in the antennae and brain of nurses and foragers of the ant Temnothorax longispinosus. We find seven times as many genes to be differentially expressed between behavioral phenotypes in the antennae compared to the brain. Moreover, half of all odorant receptors are differentially expressed, with an overrepresentation of the 9-exon gene family upregulated in the antennae of nurses. Nurses and foragers thus apparently differ in the perception of their olfactory environment and task-related signals. Our study supports the hypothesis that antennal sensory filters predispose workers to specialize in specific tasks.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Communications biology
Pages or article number: 1004
Publisher: Springer Nature
Publisher place: London
Issue date: 2023
ISSN: 2399-3642
Publisher DOI: 10.1038/s42003-023-05273-4
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-G

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