Carbohydrate metabolism genes and pathways in insects: insights from the honey bee genome

Insect Mol Biol. 2006 Oct;15(5):563-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2583.2006.00677.x.


Carbohydrate-metabolizing enzymes may have particularly interesting roles in the honey bee, Apis mellifera, because this social insect has an extremely carbohydrate-rich diet, and nutrition plays important roles in caste determination and socially mediated behavioural plasticity. We annotated a total of 174 genes encoding carbohydrate-metabolizing enzymes and 28 genes encoding lipid-metabolizing enzymes, based on orthology to their counterparts in the fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and the mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. We found that the number of genes for carbohydrate metabolism appears to be more evolutionarily labile than for lipid metabolism. In particular, we identified striking changes in gene number or genomic organization for genes encoding glycolytic enzymes, cellulase, glucose oxidase and glucose dehydrogenases, glucose-methanol-choline (GMC) oxidoreductases, fucosyltransferases, and lysozymes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees / genetics*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism / genetics*
  • Cellulase / genetics
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Genome, Insect*
  • Glucose 1-Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Glucose Oxidase / genetics
  • Muramidase / genetics
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics


  • Fatty Acids
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Glucose 1-Dehydrogenase
  • Glucose Oxidase
  • Fucosyltransferases
  • Muramidase
  • Cellulase