Supplementary material from "A lipocalin protein, Neural Lazarillo, is key to social interactions that promote termite soldier differentiation"

Published on 2018-07-11T12:46:46Z (GMT) by
Social communication among castes is a crucial component of insect societies. However, the genes involved in soldier determination through the regulation of inter-individual interactions are largely unknown. In an incipient colony of the damp-wood termite <i>Zootermopsis nevadensis</i>, the first larva to develop into a third instar always differentiates into a soldier via frequent trophallactic feeding from the reproductives. Here, by performing RNA-seq analysis of third instar larvae, a homolog of <i>Neural Lazarillo</i> (named <i>ZnNLaz1</i>) was found to be the most differentially expressed gene in these soldier-destined larvae, compared with worker-destined larvae. This gene encodes a lipocalin protein related to the transport of small hydrophobic molecules. RNAi-induced knockdown of <i>ZnNLaz1</i> significantly inhibited trophallactic interactions with the queen and decreased the soldier differentiation rates. This protein is localized in the gut, particularly in the internal wall, of soldier-destined larvae, suggesting that it is involved in the integration of social signals from the queen through frequent trophallactic behaviours. Based on molecular phylogenetic analysis, we suggest that a novel function of termite NLaz1 has contributed to social evolution from the cockroach ancestors of termites. These results indicated that a high larval <i>NLaz1</i> expression is crucial for soldier determination through social communication in termites.

Cite this collection

Yaguchi, Hajime; Shigenobu, Shuji; Hayashi, Yoshinobu; Miyazaki, Satoshi; Toga, Kouhei; Masuoka, Yudai; et al. (2018): Supplementary material from "A lipocalin protein, Neural Lazarillo, is key to social interactions that promote termite soldier differentiation". The Royal Society. Collection.