How Long Non-Coding RNAs Help Adult Workers Handle Short-Term Heat Stress

Greg Howard
23rd May, 2024

How Long Non-Coding RNAs Help Adult Workers Handle Short-Term Heat Stress

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Shanxi Agricultural University studied the role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in honeybees under heat stress
  • They identified 7,842 lncRNAs and found 115 that were differentially expressed after heat exposure
  • Silencing the most highly expressed lncRNA, MSTRG.9645.5, led to significant changes in heat shock protein (HSP) gene expression, indicating lncRNAs' role in stress response
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged as critical regulators of gene expression, cell fate determination, and disease development. However, their roles during short-term heat stress in adult worker bees have not been thoroughly investigated. A recent study by Shanxi Agricultural University aimed to fill this knowledge gap by examining the expression and function of lncRNAs in honeybees under heat stress conditions[1]. In this study, researchers performed deep sequencing and bioinformatic analyses to identify and characterize lncRNAs in adult worker bees exposed to heat stress. They discovered 7,842 lncRNAs and identified 115 differentially expressed lncRNAs (DELs) following heat stress exposure. Structural analysis revealed that lncRNAs had lower overall expression abundance, shorter transcript lengths, fewer exons, and smaller open reading frames compared to mRNAs. To understand the functional implications of these lncRNAs, the researchers conducted Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analyses. GO analysis indicated that the target genes of these lncRNAs were primarily involved in metabolism, protein folding, response to stress, and signal transduction pathways. KEGG analysis highlighted that the "protein processing in endoplasmic reticulum" and "longevity regulating pathway-multiple species" pathways were significantly enriched. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to validate the sequencing data, confirming the reliability of the identified DELs. To further explore the functional role of lncRNAs, the researchers performed RNA interference using small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting the most highly expressed lncRNA, MSTRG.9645.5. The siRNA experiment achieved a silencing efficiency of 77.51% for this lncRNA. Silencing MSTRG.9645.5 led to significant changes in the expression levels of heat shock protein (HSP) genes: three HSP genes were significantly downregulated, while three others were significantly upregulated. These findings provide a new perspective on the regulatory mechanisms of lncRNAs in adult worker bees under short-term heat stress. The study highlights the complex roles that lncRNAs play in stress responses, which could have broader implications for understanding how bees and other organisms adapt to changing environmental conditions. Previous research has shown that heat stress can elicit the expression of HSPs in honey bee subspecies, with different patterns of HSP expression observed between nurse and forager bees of various subspecies[2]. This study builds on that knowledge by revealing the involvement of lncRNAs in regulating HSP gene expression during heat stress. Additionally, earlier studies have indicated that ambient temperature and humidity can affect the metabolic and physiological responses of bees, influencing their survival and tolerance to stress[3]. The current study adds a new layer of understanding by demonstrating that lncRNAs play a crucial role in these stress responses. Furthermore, the study aligns with recent advances in the understanding of lncRNAs, which have been shown to be important regulators of diverse biological functions, including gene expression and cellular stress responses[4][5]. By identifying and characterizing lncRNAs in bees, this research contributes to the growing body of knowledge on the functional properties and mechanisms of action of lncRNAs. In summary, the study by Shanxi Agricultural University provides valuable insights into the role of lncRNAs in honeybee stress responses, highlighting their potential as key regulators of gene expression under heat stress conditions. This research not only advances our understanding of lncRNA functions in bees but also opens new avenues for exploring the regulatory mechanisms of lncRNAs in other organisms facing environmental stress.

GeneticsBiochemAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Regulatory roles of long non-coding RNAs in short-term heat stress in adult worker bees

Published 22nd May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Expression of heat shock proteins in adult honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) workers under hot-arid subtropical ecosystems.

3) Tolerance and response of two honeybee species Apis cerana and Apis mellifera to high temperature and relative humidity.

4) Integrative annotation of human large intergenic noncoding RNAs reveals global properties and specific subclasses.

5) Diverse regulatory interactions of long noncoding RNAs.

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