Insulin signaling in the long-lived reproductive caste of ants

Hua Yan, Comzit Opachaloemphan, Francisco Carmona-Aldana, Giacomo Mancini, Jakub Mlejnek, Nicolas Descostes, Bogdan Sieriebriennikov, Alexandra Leibholz, Xiaofan Zhou, Long Ding, Maria Traficante, Claude Desplan, Danny Reinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In most organisms, reproduction is correlated with shorter life span. However, the reproductive queen in eusocial insects exhibits a much longer life span than that of workers. In Harpegnathos ants, when the queen dies, workers can undergo an adult caste switch to reproductive pseudo-queens (gamergates), exhibiting a five-times prolonged life span. To explore the relation between reproduction and longevity, we compared gene expression during caste switching. Insulin expression is increased in the gamergate brain that correlates with increased lipid synthesis and production of vitellogenin in the fat body, both transported to the egg. This results from activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) branch of the insulin signaling pathway. By contrast, the production in the gamergate developing ovary of anti-insulin Imp-L2 leads to decreased signaling of the AKT/forkhead box O (FOXO) branch in the fat body, which is consistent with their extended longevity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabm8767
Issue number6610
StatePublished - Sep 2 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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