Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (1): 1-9, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.001

Identification and abiotic stress response of a glutamine synthetase gene (AccGS) from the Asiatic honeybee, Apis cerana cerana (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

Xiuling WANG1, Yuzhen LI1, Yan YAN1, Baohua XU*,2, Xingqi GUO*,1
1 College of Life Sciences and
2 College of Animal Science and Technology, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong, 271018, P.R. China; e-mails: seabiscuit_616@126.com (X. Wang), liyuzhen1988@163.com (Y. Li), sdytyanyan@163.com (Y. Yan), xqguo@sdau.edu.cn (X. Guo), bhxu@sdau.edu.cn (B. Xu)

Glutamine synthetase (GS) is an essential detoxification enzyme that plays an important role in stress responses; however, little information regarding the function of this enzyme in hymenopteran insects is available. In the present study, we isolated and characterized the gene encoding GS in the Asiatic honeybee, Apis cerana cerana. Multiple alignments and a phylogenetic analysis of GS sequences showed that AccGS belongs to the GSII superfamily and clusters with invertebrate GSs. Real-time quantitative PCR data demonstrated that AccGS is expressed at all developmental stages and in all tissues, with the highest expression observed in the sixth larval instar and in the brain. Moreover, AccGS expression is highly regulated by environmental stress, including xenobiotic, temperature, and ultraviolet light stresses. A disc diffusion assay showed that the recombinant AccGS protein confers resistance to mercuric chloride (HgCl2) stress in E. coli. This suggests that AccGS may play multiple roles in early development and in environmental stress responses.

Keywords: Hymenoptera, Apidae, Apis cerana cerana, glutamine synthetase, expression analysis, stress response

Received: May 11, 2013; Accepted: August 9, 2013; Published: January 9, 2014

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