Inducible immune proteins in the dampwood termite Zootermopsis angusticollis

Rebeca B Rosengaus, Tara Cornelisse, Katerina Guschanski, James F. A. Traniello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dampwood termites, Zootermopsis angusticollis (Isoptera: Termopsidae), mount an immune response to resist microbial infection. Here we report on results of a novel analysis that allowed us to electrophoretically assess changes in hemolymph proteins in the same individual before and after exposure to a pathogen. We demonstrate that contact with a sublethal concentration of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae (Deuteromycotina:Hypomycetes) induces the production of protective proteins in nymphs, pseudergates (false workers), and soldiers. Termites exposed to an immunizing dosage of fungal conidia consistently showed an enhancement of constitutive proteins (62–85 kDa) in the hemolymph as well as an induction of novel proteins (28–48 kDa) relative to preimmunization levels. No significant differences in protein banding patterns relative to baseline levels in control and naïve termites were observed. Incubating excised and eluted induced proteins produced by immunized pseudergates or immunized soldiers with conidia significantly reduced the germination of the fungus. The fungistatic effect of eluted proteins differed significantly among five colonies examined. Our results show that the upregulation of protective proteins in the hemolymph underscores the in vivo immune response we previously recorded in Z. angusticollis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalZeitschrift für Didaktik der Naturwissenschaften
Early online date5 Sep 2006
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • isoptera
  • immunocompetence
  • ecological immunology
  • metarhizium anisopliae
  • social insects


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