Gene expression profiles among immature and adult reproductive castes of the termite Reticulitermes flavipes

M. E. Scharf, D. Wu-Scharf, X. Zhou, B. R. Pittendrigh, G. W. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Array-based genomic studies were conducted with the goal of identifying immature (i.e. nymph) and adult reproductive caste-biased gene expression in the termite Reticulitermes flavipes. Using cDNA macro-arrays, we identified thirty-four nymph-biased genes falling into eight ontogenic categories. Based on gene expression profiles among diverse castes and developmental stages (determined by quantitative PCR), several important trends emerged. These findings highlight the importance of several developmental and survival-based factors among immature and adult termite reproductives, including: vitellogenesis, nutrient storage, juvenile hormone sequestration, ribosomal translational and filtering mechanisms, fatty acid biosynthesis, apoptosis inhibition, and both endogenous and symbiont cellulase-assisted nutrition. These findings are highly significant as they are the first to elucidate the molecular biology underlying termite reproductive caste differentiation and reproductive caste-specific biology. Other gene expression results are in agreement with previous findings that suggest roles for vitellogenin-like haemolymph proteins in soldier caste differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalInsect Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Cellulase
  • Hexamerin
  • Ribosomal filtering
  • Signal transduction
  • Sociogenomics
  • Vitellogenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Insect Science


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