Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Krüppel-Homologue 1 Mediates Hormonally-Regulated Dominance Rank in a Social Insect

Version 1 : Received: 15 September 2021 / Approved: 17 September 2021 / Online: 17 September 2021 (11:18:45 CEST)

How to cite: Pandey, A.; Bloch, G. Krüppel-Homologue 1 Mediates Hormonally-Regulated Dominance Rank in a Social Insect. Preprints 2021, 2021090305 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0305.v1). Pandey, A.; Bloch, G. Krüppel-Homologue 1 Mediates Hormonally-Regulated Dominance Rank in a Social Insect. Preprints 2021, 2021090305 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0305.v1).

Abstract

Dominance hierarchies are ubiquitous in invertebrates and vertebrates, but little is known on how genes influence dominance rank. Our gaps in knowledge are specifically significant concerning female hierarchies and in insects. To start filling these gaps we studied the social bumble bee Bombus terrestris, in which social hierarchies among females are common and functionally significant. Dominance rank in this bee is influenced by multiple factors, including juvenile hormone (JH) that is a major gonadotropin in this species. We tested the hypothesis that the JH responsive transcription factor Krüppel homologue 1 (Kr-h1) mediates hormonal influence on dominance behavior in the bumble bee. We first developed and validated a perfluorocarbon nanoparticles-based RNA interference protocol for knocking down Kr-h1 expression. We then used this procedure to show that Kr-h1 mediates the influence of JH not only on oogenesis and wax production, but also on aggression and dominance rank. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study causally linking a gene to dominance rank in social insects, and one of only a few such studies in insects or in female hierarchies. These findings are important for determining whether there are general molecular principles governing dominance rank across gender and taxa.

Keywords

Krüppel-homologue 1; juvenile hormone; vitellogenin; RNA interference; nanoparticles; reproduction; dominance; aggression; oogenesis

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