Gene expression profiles of chemosensory genes of termite soldier and worker antennae

Ryohei H. Suzuki, Takumi Hanada, Yoshinobu Hayashi, Shuji Shigenobu, Kiyoto Maekawa, Masaru K. Hojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Termites have an elaborate social system that involves cooperation and division of labour among colony members. Although this social system is regulated by chemical signals produced in the colony, it remains unclear how these signals are perceived by other members. Signal transduction is well known to be triggered by the reception of odorant molecules by some binding proteins in the antennae, after which, a signal is transmitted to chemosensory receptors. However, there is insufficient information on the role of chemosensory genes involved in signal transduction in termites. Here, we identified the genes involved in chemosensory reception in the termite Reticulitermes speratus and performed a genome-wide comparative transcriptome analysis of worker and soldier antennae. First, we identified 31 odorant-binding proteins (OBPs), and three chemosensory protein A (CheA) from the genome data. Thereafter, we performed RNA sequencing to compare the expression levels of OBPs, CheAs, and previously identified chemosensory receptor genes between worker and soldier antennae. There were no receptor genes with significant differences in expression between castes. However, the expression levels of three non-receptor odorant-detection/binding proteins (OBP, CheA, and Sensory neuron membrane protein) were significantly different between castes. Real-time qPCR (RT-qPCR) analysis using antennae and other head parts confirmed that these genes were highly expressed in soldier antennae. Finally, independent RT-qPCR analysis showed that the expression patterns of these genes were altered in soldiers from different social contexts. Present results suggest that gene expression levels of some non-receptors are affected by both castes and behavioural interactions among colony members in termites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-435
Number of pages12
JournalInsect Molecular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug


  • RNA-seq
  • castes
  • chemoreception
  • termites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Insect Science


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