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Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF-4E) (eIF4E) (eIF-4F 25 kDa subunit) (mRNA cap-binding protein) [EIF4EL1] [EIF4F]


Transcriptomic evidence that insulin signalling pathway regulates the ageing of subterranean termite castes.

Insulin is a protein hormone that controls the metabolism of sugar, fat and protein via signal transduction in cells, influencing growth and developmental processes such as reproduction and ageing. From nematodes to fruit flies, rodents and other animals, glucose signalling mechanisms are highly conserved. Reproductive termites (queens and kings) exhibit an extraordinarily long lifespan relative to non-reproductive individuals such as workers, despite being generated from the same genome, thus providing a unique model for the investigation of longevity. The key reason for this molecular mechanism, however, remains unclear. To clarify the molecular mechanism underlying this phenomenon, we sequenced the transcriptomes of the primary kings (PKs), primary queens (PQs), male (WMs) and female (WFs) workers of the lower subterranean termite Reticulitermes chinensis. We performed RNA sequencing and identified 33 insulin signalling pathway-related genes in R. chinensis. RT-qPCR analyses revealed that EIF4E and RPS6 genes were highly expressed in WMs and WFs workers, while mTOR expression was lower in PKs and PQs than in WMs and WFs. PQs and PKs exhibited lower expression of akt2-a than female workers. As the highly conserved insulin signalling pathway can significantly prolong the healthspan and lifespan, so we infer that the insulin signalling pathway regulates ageing in the subterranean termite R. chinensis. Further studies are recommended to reveal the biological function of insulin signalling pathway-related genes in the survival of termites to provide new insights into biomolecular homeostasis maintenance and its relationship to remarkable longevity.

MeSH Terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Insulin
  • Isoptera
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcriptome