Cross-kingdom regulation of honeybee caste development by dietary plant miRNAs

(Nanjing University School of Life Sciences) Honeybee larvae develop into workers but not queens, in part, because their diet of beebread/pollen is enriched in plant miRNAs. While miRNAs are generally negative regulators of gene expression in eukaryotes, they also negatively regulate larval development when honeybee larvae consume beebread/pollen and take up plant miRNAs. Xi Chen and Chen-Yu Zhang’s group in Nanjing University, report this finding on Aug. 31, 2017, in PLOS Genetics.