Preprint: Please note that this article has not completed peer review.
Research article

Transcriptome changes reveal the genetic mechanisms of the reproductive plasticity of workers in lower termites

Chenxu Ye, Humaira Rasheed, Yuehua Ran, Xiaojuan Yang, Lianxi Xing, Xiaohong Su

Abstract

Background: The reproductive plasticity of termite workers provides colonies with tremendous flexibility to respond to environmental changes, which is the basis for evolutionary and ecological success. Although it is known that all colony members share the same genetic background and that differences in castes are caused by differences in gene expression, the pattern of the specific expression of genes involved in the differentiation of workers into reproductives remains unclear. In this study, the isolated workers of Reticulitermes labralis  developed into reproductives, and then comparative transcriptomes were used for the first time to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying the reproductive plasticity of workers. Results:  We identified 38,070 differentially expressed genes and found a pattern of gene expression involved in the differentiation of the workers into reproductives. 12,543 genes were specifically upregulated in the isolated workers. Twenty-five signal transduction pathways classified into environmental information processing were related to the differentiation of workers into reproductives. Ras functions as a signalling switch regulates the reproductive plasticity of workers.The catalase gene which is related to longevity was up-regulated in reproductives. Conclusion:  We demonstrate that workers leaving the natal colony can induce the expression of stage-specific genes in the workers, which leads to the differentiation of workers into reproductives and suggests that the signal transduction along the Ras-MAPK pathway crucially controls the reproductive plasticity of the workers. This study also provides an important model for revealing the molecular mechanism of longevity changes.

Keywords
Comparative transcriptomes, Gen espression profiles, Reproductive plasticity, Isolated workers, Signal transduction

Figures

Background

Results

Discussion

Conclusion

Methods

Abbreviations

Declarations

References

Additional Files

Supplementary Files

STATUS: In Review

Comments: 0
PDF Downloads: 0
HTML Views: 21

Integrity Check:

Peer Review Timeline

Version 3

Posted 14 Aug, 2019

  • No community comments so far
  • Editorial decision: Accept

    On 15 Aug, 2019

  • 2 reviewer(s) invited

    Invitations sent on 03 Aug, 2019

  • Editor assigned

    On 02 Aug, 2019

  • Submission checks complete

    On 01 Aug, 2019

  • Editor invited

    On 01 Aug, 2019

Version 2

Posted 19 Jun, 2019

View this version

Version 1

Posted 27 May, 2019

View this version

More from BMC Genomics

Comments (0)

Comments can take the form of short reviews, notes or questions to the author. Comments will be posted immediately, but removed and moderated if flagged.

Learn more about our company.

Preprint: Please note that this article has not completed peer review.
Research article

Transcriptome changes reveal the genetic mechanisms of the reproductive plasticity of workers in lower termites

Chenxu Ye, Humaira Rasheed, Yuehua Ran, Xiaojuan Yang, Lianxi Xing, Xiaohong Su

STATUS: In Review

Comments: 0
PDF Downloads: 0
HTML Views: 21

Integrity Check:

  • Article

  • Peer Review Timeline

  • Related Articles

  • Comments

Abstract

Background: The reproductive plasticity of termite workers provides colonies with tremendous flexibility to respond to environmental changes, which is the basis for evolutionary and ecological success. Although it is known that all colony members share the same genetic background and that differences in castes are caused by differences in gene expression, the pattern of the specific expression of genes involved in the differentiation of workers into reproductives remains unclear. In this study, the isolated workers of Reticulitermes labralis  developed into reproductives, and then comparative transcriptomes were used for the first time to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying the reproductive plasticity of workers. Results:  We identified 38,070 differentially expressed genes and found a pattern of gene expression involved in the differentiation of the workers into reproductives. 12,543 genes were specifically upregulated in the isolated workers. Twenty-five signal transduction pathways classified into environmental information processing were related to the differentiation of workers into reproductives. Ras functions as a signalling switch regulates the reproductive plasticity of workers.The catalase gene which is related to longevity was up-regulated in reproductives. Conclusion:  We demonstrate that workers leaving the natal colony can induce the expression of stage-specific genes in the workers, which leads to the differentiation of workers into reproductives and suggests that the signal transduction along the Ras-MAPK pathway crucially controls the reproductive plasticity of the workers. This study also provides an important model for revealing the molecular mechanism of longevity changes.

Figures

Background

Results

Discussion

Conclusion

Methods

Abbreviations

Declarations

References

Additional Files

Learn more about our company.