The family of major royal jelly proteins and its evolution

J Mol Evol. 1999 Aug;49(2):290-7. doi: 10.1007/pl00006551.


A cDNA encoding a new member of the gene family of major royal jelly proteins (MRJPs) from the honeybee, Apis mellifera, was isolated and sequenced. Royal jelly (RJ) is a secretion of the cephalic glands of nurse bees. The origin and biological function of the protein component (12.5%, w/w) of RJ is unknown. We show that the MRJP gene family encodes a group of closely related proteins that share a common evolutionary origin with the yellow protein of Drosophila melanogaster. Yellow protein functions in cuticle pigmentation in D. melanogaster. The MRJPs appear to have evolved a novel nutritional function in the honeybee.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Bees / classification
  • Bees / genetics*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Drosophila / classification
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fatty Acids
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Phylogeny*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Fatty Acids
  • Insect Proteins
  • royal jelly

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF004842