Major alteration of the expression site of endogenous cellulases in members of an apical termite lineage

  title={Major alteration of the expression site of endogenous cellulases in members of an apical termite lineage},
  author={Gaku Tokuda and Nathan Lo and Hirofumi Watanabe and Gaku Arakawa and Tadao Matsumoto and Hiroaki Noda},
  journal={Molecular Ecology},
Termites are among the most important cellulose‐digesting animals on earth, and are well‐known for the symbiotic relationship they have with cellulolytic trichomonad and oxymonad flagellates (unicellular eukaryotes). Perhaps less well‐known is the fact that ∼75% of the ∼2600 described termite species — those belonging to the family Termitidae — do not harbour such flagellates. Unlike most termites from other families, the majority of termitids do not consume wood, feeding instead on soil, leaf… 

Evolution and Function of Endogenous Termite Cellulases

Investigations into the roles of different members of the termite colony in digesting cellulose have begun, and have revealed major variations in the level of expression, including differences between different sized workers.

Termites as functional gene resources.

Future prospects for practical application based on the recent progress in metagenomic research are discussed and termites and its symbionts have not only cellulolytic or lignin decomposition activity but also aromatic hydrocarbons degradation are shown.


This dissertation attempts to explain the evolution of endogenous cellulose digestion in higher termites using phylogenetic inferences from mitochondrial (16S) ribosomal RNA, nuclear (28S), endo-β-1,4-glucanase and β-glUCosidase sequences.

Hidden cellulases in termites: revision of an old hypothesis

Zymograms showed that the hindguts of these termites possessed several cellulases and contained up to 59% cellulase activity against crystalline cellulose when compared with the midgut, suggesting that these cellulases were produced by symbiotic bacteria.

Differences in cellulose digestive systems among castes in two termite lineages

To determine differences in cellulose degradation between soldier and worker termites, enzymatic activity and cellulase gene expression, as well digestive tract histology, are examined in two phylogenetically distant species.

Fiber-associated spirochetes are major agents of hemicellulose degradation in the hindgut of wood-feeding higher termites

It is demonstrated that the degradation of xylan, the major component of hemicellulose, is restricted to the hindgut compartment, where it is preferentially hydrolyzed over cellulose.

Metagenomic and functional analysis of hindgut microbiota of a wood-feeding higher termite

A metagenomic analysis of the bacterial community resident in the hindgut paunch of a wood-feeding ‘higher’ Nasutitermes species shows the presence of a large, diverse set of bacterial genes for cellulose and xylan hydrolysis, the first system-wide gene analysis of a microbial community specialized towards plant lignocellulose degradation.

Metabolomic profiling of 13C-labelled cellulose digestion in a lower termite: insights into gut symbiont function

Evidence is provided that essential amino acid acquisition by termites occurs following the lysis of microbial tissue obtained via proctodaeal trophallaxis, and that a major contribution by hindgut bacteria is phosphorolysis of cellodextrins or cellobiose.



Termite Gut Symbiotic Archaezoa Are Becoming Living Metabolic Fossils

Results indicated that the intestinal flagellates of M. darwiniensis take up the termite's cellulases from gut contents, giving the impression that the gut Archaezoa are heading toward a secondary loss of their own endoglucanases and that they use exclusively termite cellulases.

Cellulase genes from the parabasalian symbiont Pseudotrichonympha grassii in the hindgut of the wood-feeding termite Coptotermes formosanus

The overall similarity between PgCBH-homo and the catalytic domain of a processive cellulase Cel7A (formerly CBHI) from the aerobic fungus Trichoderma reesei is revealed.

Evidence for the presence of a cellulase gene in the last common ancestor of bilaterian animals

The results suggest that at least one family of endogenous cellulases may be more widespread in animals than previously thought and questions the idea of lateral gene transfer into the ancestors of the latter.

A cellulase gene of termite origin

The first insect cellulase-endoding gene to be identified, RsEG, which encodes an endo-β-1,4-glucanase (EC in the termite Reticulitermes speratus is described.

Energy Metabolism in the Termite and Its Gut Microbiota

The major source of energy in all termites is carbohydrate although the nature of the carbohydrate is known only in the xylophagous termites. Lignin degradation does not appear to be important in any

Diverse genes of cellulase homologues of glycosyl hydrolase family 45 from the symbiotic protists in the hindgut of the termite Reticulitermes speratus

The presence of diverse cellulase homologues suggests that symbiotic protists of termites may be rich reservoirs of novel cellulase sequences.

Cellulose digestion in termites and cockroaches: What role do symbionts play?

Differential role of symbiotic fungi in lignin degradation and food provision for fungus-growing termites (Macrotermitinae: Isoptera)

The main role of symbiotic fungi is to degrade lignin, so that the termites can utilize cellulose more efficiently, whereas in Odontotermes spp.

Morphology of the Digestive System in the Wood-Feeding Termite Nasutitermes takasagoensis (Shiraki) [Isoptera: Termitidae]

Observations indicate that termites such as N. takasagoensis appear to have developed structures that enable more efficient interactions with intestinal microorganisms, particularly by the elongation and differentiation of the hindgut and the creation of the mixed segment.