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Expression profiles of neotropical termites reveal microbiota-associated, caste-biased genes and biotechnological targets.

Campanini, E B; Pedrino, M; do Amaral Martins, L; Neta, O S A; Carazzolle, M F; Ciancaglini, I; Malavazi, I; Costa-Leonardo, A M; de Melo Freire, C C; Nunes, F M F; da Cunha, A F.
Insect Mol Biol; 2020 Nov 28.
Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33247845
Termites are well recognized by their complex development trajectories, involving dynamic differentiation process between non-reproductive castes, workers and soldiers. These insects are associated with endosymbiotic microorganisms, which help in lignocellulose digestion and nitrogen metabolism. Aiming to identify genes harboring biotechnological potential, we analyzed workers and soldiers RNA-Seq data of three neotropical termites Heterotermes tenuis (Isoptera Rhinotermitidae), Velocitermes heteropterus (Isoptera Termitidae) and Cornitermes cumulans (Isoptera Termitidae). We observed differences in the microbiota associated with each termite family, and found protists' genes in both Termitidae species. We found an opposite pattern of caste-biased gene expression between H. tenuis and the termitids studied. Moreover, the two termitids are considerably different concerning the number of differentially expressed genes. Functional annotation indicated considerable differences in caste-biased gene content between V. heteropterus and C. cumulans, even though they share similar diet and biological niche. Among the most differentially expressed genes, we highlighted those involved in caste differentiation and cellulose digestion, which are attractive targets for studying more efficient technologies for termite control, biomass digestion and other biotechnological applications. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.