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A honey bee Dscam family member, AbsCAM, is a brain-specific cell adhesion molecule with the neurite outgrowth activity which influences neuronal wiring during development


Dr Tatsuhiko Kadowaki, as above.


The immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) has been indicated as functioning in the development and maintenance of nervous systems through cell–cell recognition and communication in several model invertebrates, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. To further explore the functions of the IgSF in the brain of an invertebrate with more complex behavior, we identified and characterized a novel brain-specific Dscam family member, AbsCAM, from honey bee (Apis mellifera). The level of the AbsCAM protein was high in newly hatched bees and was dramatically reduced with age. The AbsCAM protein level was constant among worker bees of the same age performing different tasks, suggesting that it was primarily determined by age and not task in adult brains. Two different AbsCAM transcripts (AbsCAM-Ig7A and B) were generated by the alternative splicing of exon 11 encoding immunoglobulin domain 7 in an age-dependent manner. AbsCAM was expressed in the major brain neuropils where the synaptic density was high. AbsCAM can mediate the isoform-specific homophilic cell adhesion in vitro, and affected the axonal projections in Drosophila embryonic central nervous system and adult mushroom body by ectopic expression. Furthermore, AbsCAM promoted the neurite outgrowth of cultured neurons isolated from honey bee pupal brains. These results thus suggest that AbsCAM is the first honey bee IgSF implicated as functioning in neuronal wiring during honey bee brain development.

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