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J Insect Physiol. 2008 Jun;54(6):922-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2008.04.017. Epub 2008 May 3.

Juvenile hormone titers and caste differentiation in the damp-wood termite Hodotermopsis sjostedti (Isoptera, Termopsidae).

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Laboratory of Ecological Genetics, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan.


Termites are social insects, presenting morphologically distinct castes, performing specific tasks in the colony. The developmental processes underlying caste differentiation are mainly controlled by juvenile hormone (JH). Although many fragmentary data support this fact, there was no comparative work on JH titers during the caste differentiation processes. In this study, JH titer variation was investigated using a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) quantification method in all castes of the Japanese damp-wood termite Hodotermopsis sjostedti, especially focusing on the soldier caste differentiation pathway, which was induced by treatment with a JH analog. Hemolymph JH titers fluctuated between 20 and 720pg/microl. A peak of JH was observed during molting events for the pseudergate stationary molt and presoldier differentiation, but this peak was absent prior to the imaginal molt. Soldier caste differentiation was generally associated with high JH titers and nymph to alate differentiation with low JH titers. However, JH titer rose in females during alate maturation, probably in relation to vitellogenesis. In comparison, JH titer was surprisingly low in neotenics. On the basis of these results in both natural and artificial conditions, the current model for JH action on termite caste differentiation is discussed and re-appraised.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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