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Cuticular hydrocarbons rather than peptides are responsible for nestmate recognition in Polistes dominulus.

Bruschini, C; Cervo, R; Cini, A; Pieraccini, G; Pontieri, L; Signorotti, L; Turillazzi, S; (2011) Cuticular hydrocarbons rather than peptides are responsible for nestmate recognition in Polistes dominulus. Chem Senses , 36 (8) pp. 715-723. 10.1093/chemse/bjr042.

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Abstract

A colony of social insects is like a fortress where access is allowed only to colony members. The epicuticular mixture of hydrocarbons has been widely reported to be involved in nestmate recognition in insects. However, recent studies have shown that polar compounds (mainly peptides) are also present, mixed with hydrocarbons, on the cuticle of various insects, including the paper wasps of the genus Polistes. As these polar compounds are variable among Polistes species and are perceived by the wasps, this cuticular fraction could also be involved in nestmate recognition. Through MALDI-TOF (Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time of Flight) mass spectrometry analysis, we assessed, for the first time, the intercolonial variability of the cuticular polar fraction of Polistes dominulus in order to evaluate its reliability as source of nestmate recognition cues. We then tested through behavioral assays the importance of the 2 isolated fractions (apolar and polar) in nestmate recognition by presenting them separately to colonies of P. dominulus. Our results showed that the cuticular polar compounds are not colony specific and they are not used by paper wasps to discriminate nestmates from non-colony members. On the contrary, we confirmed that the isolated cuticular hydrocarbons are the chemical mediators prompting nestmate recognition in paper wasps.

Type: Article
Title: Cuticular hydrocarbons rather than peptides are responsible for nestmate recognition in Polistes dominulus.
Location: England
DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjr042
Keywords: Animals, Behavior, Animal, Cues, Hydrocarbons, Peptides, Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization, Wasps
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Biosciences (Division of) > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1564430
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