The Robinson Lab

Bee Brain EST Project

To accelerate the molecular analysis of behavior in the honey bee (Apis mellifera), we created an expressed sequence tag (EST) resource for the bee brain. Bees of different ages performing a wide variety of natural behaviors were collected from a field colony at the University of Illinois. Brains were then dissected and mRNA extracted. A normalized unidirectional cDNA library was made in the laboratory of Prof. Bento Soares, University of Iowa. The library was subsequently subtracted. Over 20,000 cDNA clones were partially sequenced from the normalized and subtracted libraries at the Keck Center, resulting in 15,311 vector-trimmed, high-quality, sequences with an average read length of 494 bp. and average base-quality of 41. These sequences were assembled into 8966 putatively unique sequences, which were tested for similarity to sequences in the public databases with a variety of BLAST searches. Apis ESTs were tentatively assigned molecular function and biological process using the Gene Ontology (GO) classification system.

A paper describing this project has been published as the cover story in Genome Research in 2002.

The original EST database has now been incorporated into BeeBase.

Representative Publications

Whitfield CW, Band MR, Bonaldo MF, Kumar CG, Liu L, Pardinas JR, Robertson HM, Soares MB, Robinson GE (2002) Annotated expressed sequence tages and cDNA microarrays for studies of brain and behavior in the honey bee. Genome Research 4:555-566. (pdf)