Effects of juvenile hormone III on Reticulitermes flavipes: Changes in hemolymph protein composition and gene expression

Michael E. Scharf, Catina R. Ratliff, Dancia Wu-Scharf, Xuguo Zhou, Barry R. Pittendrigh, Gary W. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Termites express polyphenism during caste differentiation that is mostly undefined at the molecular level. Using the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes Kollar, we wanted (1) to test juvenile hormone (JH) model assays for their ability to induce detectable molecular changes in worker termites and (2) to investigate hemolymph proteins and their corresponding genes during JH-induced soldier caste differentiation. Our results illustrate pronounced changes in two hemolymph proteins after JH treatment, as well as differences among several caste phenotypes. Significant increases in the expression of four genes encoding hemolymph proteins, including two vitellogenins and two hexamerins, were observed after JH exposure. These findings are the first to demonstrate such protein and gene expression changes during termite caste differentiation. These results also validate the utility of JH model assays for inducing detectable molecular changes in worker termites that have begun presoldier differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We express our gratitude to Dr. James Nation (University of Florida) for helpful suggestions on a manuscript draft. We also thank Mary Bowers of the Purdue University protein sequencing core facility for her expert assistance with peptide sequencing. Partial support was provided by Dow AgroSciences and Bayer Environmental Sciences. This is publication No. 2004-17494 of the Agricultural Research Program of Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. This research was supported by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and approved for publication as Journal Series No. R-10397.


  • Hexamerin
  • JH-binding protein
  • Peptide mass fingerprinting
  • Termite
  • Vitellogenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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