Bacteria induced alteration in the antibacterial defense of the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes

Monday, November 17, 2014
Exhibit Hall C (Oregon Convention Center)
Yuan Zeng , Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Xing Ping Hu , Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Sang-Jin Suh , Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
The Eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes, faces strong pathogenic pressures as they nest and forage in soil, reflecting its remarkable capacity to control and eliminate pathogens. We recently demonstrated that R. flavipes constitutively produces various proteins with antibacterial activity against several Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria but not several multidrug resistant pathogens (MDRs). Here, we demonstrate that feeding R. flavipes with a sublethal concentration of multidrug resistant pathogen Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA ) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa induces production of antibacterial proteins that are effective against these MDR pathogens. The SDS-PAGE electrophoresis analysis demonstrated an alteration in the protein profile of termite cell free extracts and showed an upregulation of proteins (100-130 kDa) as well as a downregulation of proteins (70-100 kDa) relative to unchallenged termites. Our data demonstrate that in addition to the constitutive production of antibacterial proteins, the innate immune response of R. flavipes may be tailored to respond to the threat posed by specific pathogens.