Identification and developmental profiles of hexamerins in antenna and hemolymph of the honeybee, Apis mellifera

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. May-Jun 1998;28(5-6):387-97. doi: 10.1016/s0965-1748(98)00011-3.


Four distinct hexamerin subunits (referred to as "hexamerins" in the following text) have been identified in the developing honeybee, Apis mellifera, by N-terminal protein sequencing. Hexamerins are abundant in the hemolymph of late larval and early pupal stages, and gradually decline during metamorphosis and adult development. Three hexamerins in the 70 kDa range have been found (Hex70a, Hex70b, Hex70c). In worker and drone, Hex70a is the only hexamerin present in large amount in later adult stages. Hex70b and c exhibit a similar developmental profile, disappearing in the drone just before adult emergence, and in the worker just after. Hex70b or Hex70c are still detectable in the adult queen. Hex80/110 likely exist in at least 3 different subunits, 1 of 110 kDa, and 2 of around 80 kDa, which all share a common N-terminus. They disappear during metamorphosis earlier than Hex70b and c. All these hexamerins have been found also in the antenna, suggesting their utilization in building up of antennal cuticle structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bees / genetics
  • Bees / growth & development
  • Bees / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hemolymph / metabolism
  • Immunochemistry
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Weight
  • Protein Conformation
  • Sense Organs / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Insect Proteins
  • storage proteins, Insecta