Profiling the proteomics in honeybee worker brains submitted to the proboscis extension reflex
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The proboscis extension reflex (PER) is an unconditioned stimulus (US) widely used to access the ability of honeybees to correlate it with a conditioned stimulus (CS) during learning and memory acquisition. However, little is known about the biochemical/genetic changes in worker honeybee brains induced by the PER alone. The present investigation profiled the proteomic complement associated with the PER to further the understanding of the major molecular transformations in the honeybee brain during the execution of a US. In the present study, a quantitative shotgun proteomic approach was employed to assign the proteomic complement of the honeybee brain. The results were analyzed under the view of protein networking for different processes involved in PER behavior. In the brains of PER-stimulated individuals, the metabolism of cyclic/heterocyclic/aromatic compounds was activated in parallel with the metabolism of nitrogenated compounds, followed by the up-regulation of carbohydrate metabolism, the proteins involved with the anatomic and cytoskeleton; the down-regulation of the anatomic development and cell differentiation in other neurons also occurred. Significance The assay of proboscis extension reflex is frequently used to access honeybees' ability to correlate an unconditioned stimulus with a conditioned stimulus (such as an odor) to establish learning and memory acquisition. The reflex behavior of proboscis extension was associated with various conditioned stimuli, and the biochemical/genetic evaluation of the changes occurring in honeybee brains under these conditions reflect the synergistic effects of both insect manipulations (training to answer to an unconditioned stimulus and training to respond to a conditioned stimulus). Little or no information is available regarding the biochemical changes stimulated by an unconditioned stimulus alone, such as the proboscis extension reflex. The present investigation characterizes the proteomic changes occurring in the brains of honeybee workers submitted to proboscis extension reflex. A series of metabolic and cellular processes were identified to be related to the reflex of an unconditioned stimulus. This strategy may be reproduced to further understand the processes of learning and memory acquisition in honeybees.
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