Identification of a novel gene, Mblk-1, that encodes a putative transcription factor expressed preferentially in the large-type Kenyon cells of the honeybee brain


✶ Correspondence: Takeo Kubo, Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113–0033, Japan. Tel.: + 81 3 5841 4446; fax: + 81 3 5800 3553; e-mail:


Mushroom bodies (MBs) are considered to be involved in higher-order sensory processing in the insect brain. To identify the genes involved in the intrinsic function of the honeybee MBs, we searched for genes preferentially expressed therein, using the differential display method. Here we report a novel gene encoding a putative transcription factor (Mblk-1) expressed preferentially in one of two types of intrinsic MB neurones, the large-type Kenyon cells, which makes Mblk-1 a candidate gene involved in the advanced behaviours of honeybees. A putative DNA binding motif of Mblk-1 had significant sequence homology with those encoded by genes from various animal species, suggesting that the functions of these proteins in neural cells are conserved among the animal kingdom.