Termites have a distinct polyphenism controlled by concise hormonal and molecular mechanisms. Workers undergo double molts to transform into soldiers (worker–presoldier–soldier). Juvenile hormone analogs, such as methoprene, can induce workers to transform into presoldiers. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the worker-to-presoldier transformation in Coptotermes formosanus
Shiraki is still not clear. We sequenced the transcriptome of workers four days after they had fed on methoprene-treated filter paper and control group workers, which fed on acetone-treated filter paper. The transcriptome of C. formosanus
was assembled using the de novo
assembly method. Expression levels of unigenes in the methoprene-treated group and the control group were compared. The differentially expressed genes were further analyzed by Gene Ontology (GO) term enrichment analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment analysis. Tetrapyrrole binding, oxidoreductase activity, and metal ion binding were the only three enriched GO terms. Juvenile hormone synthesis was the first ranked enriched pathway. Carbohydrate, amino acid, and lipid metabolism pathways were also enriched. These three pathways may be related to fat body development, which is critical for presoldier formation. Our results have demonstrated the significance of JH synthesis pathways, and pathways related to fat body development in the artificial induction of presoldiers.
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