Molecular basis of long-term memory in termites: conspecific workers learn and never forget
What is it about?
Termites are social insects that belong to different castes (the reproductive, the workers and the soldiers) to establish a colony. Like in ants, it is well establish that physical and behavioral castes of termites often differ in chemical odor. However, while chemical odors in termites are extensively studied, still very little is known about how reticuliterms and consors detect, perceive, interpret and memorize those specific olfactory signals.
Why is it important?
Upon discovery of insect chemosensory proteins (Picimbon, 2003; Picimbon and Leal, 1999; Picimbon et al., 2000a,b, 2001), this piece of work is a pioneer study of the molecular mechanisms behind odor detection in termites. While many CSPs could be reported from many various insect species, no CSPs could ever been reported from reticuliterms and consors. Surprizingly, not only CSPs but also cytochrome oxidases exhibit caste-specific changes in gene expression.
The following have contributed to this page: Prof. Dr. Jean-François Jeff Picimbon