Of the various characteristics of social insects, communication for reproductive differentiation is one of the most important and basic social interactions among colony members. To elucidate the molecular basis underlying this process, genes responsible for reproductive differentiation in Diacamma were screened using fluorescent differential display. Differential display, together with real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), revealed that a gene belonging to the family of cellular retinaldehyde-binding proteins was specifically expressed in the epidermis of the head, legs, and thorax in reproductives. The deduced protein sequence in the coding region, obtained by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE)-PCR, was found to include cellular retinaldehyde-binding domain (CRAL-TRIO domain), suggesting that DiaCRALDCP functions in transportation of lipids, such as cuticular hydrocarbons. DiaCRALDCP transcript levels immediately decreased 1 day after the gemma mutilation, suggesting that DiaCRALDCP is involved in the physiological changes provoked by the behavioral regulation. Considering these results, the social functions of DiaCRALDCP in Diacamma are discussed.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.