Major proteins synthesized in the hypopharyngeal gland of the worker honeybee change from bee-milk proteins to α-glucosidase in accordance with the age-dependent role change of the worker bee. Previously, we showed that the gene for α-glucosidase is expressed specifically in the forager-bee gland [Ohashi, K., Sawata, M., Takeuchi, H., Natori, S. & Kubo, T. (1996) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 221, 380–385]. Here, we describe the isolation and analysis of cDNAs for two bee-milk 56-kDa and 64-kDa proteins. The 56-kDa protein was a glycoprotein which shared 63.2% and 56.9% amino acid sequence identities with proteins encoded by cDNA for royal-jelly-related protein 57–1 (pRJP57-l) and pRJP57–2. The 64-kDa protein cDNA was identical to pRJP57-l. Thus, these bee-milk proteins seem to form a structurally related protein family. The gene for the 64-kDa protein/RJP57-1 was expressed specifically in the nurse-bee gland, whereas that for the 56-kDa protein was expressed in both the nurse-bee and forager-bee glands. mRNAs for the 56-kDa and 64-kDa proteins were detected by in situ hybridization in a whole acinus of the nurse-bee gland, whereas mRNAs for the 56-kDa protein and α-glucosidase were detected in that of the forager-bee gland. Therefore, the individual secretory cells of the acinus of the hypopharyngeal gland were shown to express these genes differently with the age-dependent role change of the worker bee.
α-Glucosidase (EC 22.214.171.124)
exonuclease 111 (EC 3.1 .11.2)
mung bean nuclease (EC 126.96.36.199)
alkaline phosphatase (EC 188.8.131.52)