Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Honey bee mystery protein is a freight train for health and lifespan

This is an illustration of the "locomotive" part of the vitellogenin protein in honey bees.

Credit: Heli Havukainen
This is an illustration of the "locomotive" part of the vitellogenin protein in honey bees.

Credit: Heli Havukainen

Abstract:
Why are bee colonies worldwide suffering mysterious deaths? A unique study describes a single bee protein that can promote bee health and solve a major economic challenge.

Honey bee mystery protein is a freight train for health and lifespan

Norway | Posted on November 29th, 2011

Honey bees are the most effective pollinators of many agricultural crops and vitally important to food production.

Honey bee health is a topic of considerable concern due to massive deaths of bee colonies in the USA and Europe. Recently, the European Union reacted by promising more resources for honey bee research, estimating European pollination to an economic value of EUR 22 billion.

"Detailed studies on the molecules that keep bees healthy are extremely important to the food industry as well as the global provision of food," said dr. Heli Havukainen, who defended her PhD thesis at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) on November 25. Her study of honey bees is a collaboration between UMB and the University of Bergen (UiB), Norway.

More protein = better health and longer life

One of these molecules is a protein called vitellogenin. "Simply put, the more vitellogenin in bees, the longer they live. Vitellogenin also guides bees to do different social tasks, such caregiving or foraging. It also supports the immune function and is an antioxidant that promotes stress resistance. In my research, I set out to find out how this molecule is shaped and how it behaves on a nano-scale. This provides us with more knowledge about how vitellogenin is good for honey bees," Havukainen said.

Like a freight train

Under the supervision of Professor Gro Amdam (UMB and Arizona State University) and Associate Professor Řyvind Halskau (UiB), Havukainen discovered that vitellogenin can be described as a freight train consisting of a locomotive and a carriage. The protein carries fat as its cargo, which it picks up in the bees' belly-fat cells - the main station. The vitellogenin "train" travels in the bee's blood and delivers the fat cargo at different local stops or stations.

"I found out that, instead of starting the train journey from the fat cell main station, some vitellogenin molecules are divided in two, so the locomotive is separated from its cargo. The cargo cannot move without a locomotive and it stays in the fat cells, while the locomotive disappears. We soon realised that this is a typical behaviour for the vitellogenin molecule," Havukainen said.

Prior to this study, scientists believed vitellogenin to be one entity, like a cargo ship, unable to separate from its cargo. Therefore, Havukainen's new discovery is a big step forward for research that aims to keep bees healthy and long lived.

"We figured out that vitellogenin can drop its fat cargo as a reaction to changing chemical conditions. How this "drop" occurs and which factor makes the locomotive move and leave its cargo are important questions in the protein world, and probably equally important to the bee," Havukainen said.

What's up with the train hitch?

The research group believes that the separation of vitellogenin in two parts is a key to understanding how the protein works. They are now in search of the factor that breaks the fragile connection, or the train hitch of the protein, and lets the locomotive go.

"My discovery is that vitellogenin is not one entity. It consists of two functional parts. Now, I want to stop the separation process, so the locomotive and fat cargo are always together. This will help us figure out why the locomotive sometimes ditches its cargo and travels around on its own, and what the consequences are for the bees. This way, we can learn how vitellogenin affects social behaviour, immunity and stress resistance, and ultimately global food production and provision, Havukainen said.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Torunn Moe

47-416-79179

Copyright © Norwegian University of Life Sciences

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Multi-million pound project to use nanotechnology to improve safety September 4th, 2015

Magnetic wormhole connecting 2 regions of space created for the first time: The device could have applications in medicine, opening up ways to make MRIs more comfortable for patients September 4th, 2015

Tongfang Global and QD Vision Partner to Bring Wide Color Gamut to Global Television Lines: Color IQTM quantum dots help boost company’s focus on superior color reproduction September 3rd, 2015

QEOS and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Industry’s First CMOS Platform for MillimeterWave Markets: GLOBALSOLUTIONSSM Partnership will enable next-generation wireless technologies for applications in IoT, 5G and automotive September 3rd, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Magnetic wormhole connecting 2 regions of space created for the first time: The device could have applications in medicine, opening up ways to make MRIs more comfortable for patients September 4th, 2015

Making nanowires from protein and DNA September 3rd, 2015

Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel September 3rd, 2015

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

Discoveries

Magnetic wormhole connecting 2 regions of space created for the first time: The device could have applications in medicine, opening up ways to make MRIs more comfortable for patients September 4th, 2015

QEOS and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Industry’s First CMOS Platform for MillimeterWave Markets: GLOBALSOLUTIONSSM Partnership will enable next-generation wireless technologies for applications in IoT, 5G and automotive September 3rd, 2015

Making nanowires from protein and DNA September 3rd, 2015

Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel September 3rd, 2015

Announcements

Multi-million pound project to use nanotechnology to improve safety September 4th, 2015

Magnetic wormhole connecting 2 regions of space created for the first time: The device could have applications in medicine, opening up ways to make MRIs more comfortable for patients September 4th, 2015

Making nanowires from protein and DNA September 3rd, 2015

Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel September 3rd, 2015

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

Nanotech could rid cattle of ticks, with less collateral damage September 1st, 2015

Researchers use DNA 'clews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells August 30th, 2015

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2015 conference August 25th, 2015

New Step towards Breast Cancer Treatment by Herbal Compounds August 23rd, 2015

Research partnerships

QEOS and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Industry’s First CMOS Platform for MillimeterWave Markets: GLOBALSOLUTIONSSM Partnership will enable next-generation wireless technologies for applications in IoT, 5G and automotive September 3rd, 2015

Turning clothing into information displays September 2nd, 2015

Sustainable nanotechnology center September 1st, 2015

$200K Awarded to Develop In Vitro Lung Test for Toxicity of Inhaled Nanomaterials: In Vitro Lung Test Designed to Protect Human Health and Replace Animal Testing September 1st, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic