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The queen’s gut refines with age: longevity phenotypes in a social insect model

Overview of attention for article published in Microbiome, June 2018
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (91st percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
2 blogs
17 tweeters


50 Dimensions

Readers on

123 Mendeley
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The queen’s gut refines with age: longevity phenotypes in a social insect model
Published in
Microbiome, June 2018
DOI 10.1186/s40168-018-0489-1
Pubmed ID

Kirk E. Anderson, Vincent A. Ricigliano, Brendon M. Mott, Duan C. Copeland, Amy S. Floyd, Patrick Maes


In social insects, identical genotypes can show extreme lifespan variation providing a unique perspective on age-associated microbial succession. In honey bees, short- and long-lived host phenotypes are polarized by a suite of age-associated factors including hormones, nutrition, immune senescence, and oxidative stress. Similar to other model organisms, the aging gut microbiota of short-lived (worker) honey bees accrue Proteobacteria and are depleted of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, consistent with a suite of host senescence markers. In contrast, long-lived (queen) honey bees maintain youthful cellular function with much lower expression of oxidative stress genes, suggesting a very different host environment for age-associated microbial succession. We sequenced the microbiota of 63 honey bee queens exploring two chronological ages and four alimentary tract niches. To control for genetic and environmental variation, we quantified carbonyl accumulation in queen fat body tissue as a proxy for biological aging. We compared our results to the age-specific microbial succession of worker guts. Accounting for queen source variation, two or more bacterial species per niche differed significantly by queen age. Biological aging in queens was correlated with microbiota composition highlighting the relationship of microbiota with oxidative stress. Queens and workers shared many major gut bacterial species, but differ markedly in community structure and age succession. In stark contrast to aging workers, carbonyl accumulation in queens was significantly associated with increased Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and depletion of various Proteobacteria. We present a model system linking changes in gut microbiota to diet and longevity, two of the most confounding variables in human microbiota research. The pattern of age-associated succession in the queen microbiota is largely the reverse of that demonstrated for workers. The guts of short-lived worker phenotypes are progressively dominated by three major Proteobacteria, but these same species were sparse or significantly depleted in long-lived queen phenotypes. More broadly, age-related changes in the honey bee microbiota reflect the regulatory anatomy of reproductive host metabolism. Our synthesis suggests that the evolution of colony-level reproductive physiology formed the context for host-microbial interactions and age-related succession of honey bee microbiota.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 123 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 123 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 28 23%
Student > Ph. D. Student 26 21%
Student > Bachelor 18 15%
Student > Master 12 10%
Professor > Associate Professor 6 5%
Other 16 13%
Unknown 17 14%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 42 34%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 27 22%
Immunology and Microbiology 4 3%
Medicine and Dentistry 4 3%
Environmental Science 3 2%
Other 16 13%
Unknown 27 22%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 27. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 October 2021.
All research outputs
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Outputs from Microbiome
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Microbiome
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Altmetric has tracked 20,785,366 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,256 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 40.1. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 70% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 293,878 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them