Single Molecule (Kr-h1) Controls Switch from Worker to Queen-Like Status in Certain Ants

Depending on the outcome of social conflicts, ants of the species Harpegnathos saltator do something unusual: they can switch from a worker to a queen-like status known as gamergate. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Cell on November 4, 2021 have made the surprising discovery that a single protein, called Kr-h1 (Krüppel homolog 1), responds to socially regulated hormones to orchestrate this complex social transition. The Cell article is titled “Kr-h1 Maintains Distinct Caste-Specific Neurotranscriptomes in Response to Socially Regulated Hormones.”

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