Microorganisms dwell symbiotically in the termite hindgut. In this study, we identified genes that contribute to the role of the host in maintaining this symbiotic relationship with microorganisms. Body tissue and digestive organs (salivary gland, foregut, midgut, and hindgut) dissected from the lower termite Hodotermopsis sjostedti were used for the analyses. The transcriptomes in these organs were investigated using expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis. The cDNA libraries from the salivary gland and foregut included not only cellulase genes, but also several genes involved in glucose production, heme-cellulose degradation, chitin degradation, the innate immune system, and anti-microbial activity. We compared the expression level of these genes in the organs and body by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Real time RT-PCR analyses confirmed that the genes associated with cellulose degradation, innate immunity, and anti-microbial proteins are much more strongly expressed in the salivary gland than in other tissues. Our results identify functional genes used by the host in the termite symbiotic system.
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