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The neuroethology of olfactory sex communication in the honeybee Apis mellifera L.

Abstract : The honeybee Apis mellifera L. is a crucial pollinator as well as a prominent scientific model organism, in particular for the neurobiological study of olfactory perception, learning, and memory. A wealth of information is indeed available about how the worker bee brain detects, processes, and learns about odorants. Comparatively, olfaction in males (the drones) and queens has received less attention, although they engage in a fascinating mating behavior that strongly relies on olfaction. Here, we present our current understanding of the molecules, cells, and circuits underlying bees' sexual communication. Mating in honeybees takes place at so-called drone congregation areas and places high in the air where thousands of drones gather and mate in dozens with virgin queens. One major queen-produced olfactory signal-9-ODA, the major component of the queen pheromone-has been known for decades to attract the drones. Since then, some of the neural pathways responsible for the processing of this pheromone have been unraveled. However, olfactory receptor expression as well as brain neuroanatomical data point to the existence of three additional major pathways in the drone brain, hinting at the existence of 4 major odorant cues involved in honeybee mating. We discuss current evidence about additional not only queen-but also drone-produced pheromonal signals possibly involved in bees' sexual behavior. We also examine data revealing recent evolutionary changes in drone's olfactory system in the Apis genus. Lastly, we present promising research avenues for progressing in our understanding of the neural basis of bees mating behavior.
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https://hal-cnrs.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03402732
Contributor : Jean-Christophe Sandoz Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, October 25, 2021 - 6:02:48 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 3:17:39 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, January 26, 2022 - 10:01:40 PM

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Julia Mariette, Julie Carcaud, Jean-Christophe Sandoz. The neuroethology of olfactory sex communication in the honeybee Apis mellifera L.. Cell and Tissue Research, Springer Verlag, In press, 383 (1), pp.177-194. ⟨10.1007/s00441-020-03401-8⟩. ⟨hal-03402732⟩

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