Plant Pests of the Middle East


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The Department of Entomology
The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Kaczmarek, M. M. ; Reliszko, Z. P. ; Szuszkiewicz, J. ; Nitkiewicz, A. ; Guzewska, M. M. ; Myszczynski, K. ; Romaniewicz, M. ; Sikora, M. ; Kajko, M. ; Heifetz, Y. Profiling circulating microRNAs in the serum of pregnant and non-pregnant pigs reveals a plethora of reproductive status-dependent microRNAs. ANIMAL 2021, 15.Abstract
Circulating, non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs) have been proposed to be powerful pathophysiological indicators of pregnancy in animals and humans. Since their discovery, it is known that miRNAs can take part in numerous biological processes, including cell proliferation and differentiation during early embryonic development and establishment of pregnancy. Our recent studies have indicated that maternal blood can carry miRNAs reported previously at the embryo-maternal interface in pigs. To expand the scope of our research, we tested the hypothesis that miRNAs previously identified in conceptuses, trophoblasts, endometriumand uterine lumen-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) collected before Day 20 of pregnancy can show reproductive status-dependent profiles in the serum of cyclic and pregnant crossbred pigs. Custom-designed TaqMan arrays, multiplex real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR and real-time RT-PCR allowed us to identify a number of reproductive status-dependent miRNAs in serum samples collected from pigs during the estrous cycle or pregnancy (Days 16 and 20). We found that serum samples were enriched with miRNAs involved in processes important during the estrous cycle and early pregnancy, e.g. cell sensitivity and viability, angiogenesis, embryonic cell proliferation and differentiation. Further validation revealed different abundance of ssc-miR-143-3p and sscmiR-125b in pregnant and non-pregnant animals and correlation of ssc-miR-125b levels with litter size. In addition, analyzed serum samples contained both EVs and Argonaute2 proteins, which are known to be involved in miRNA transportation and intercellular communication. In summary, we identified several circulating miRNAs that differ in abundance between cyclic and pregnant animals and could serve as potential indicators of reproductive status in pigs during breeding management. (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of The Animal Consortium.
Kumar, S. ; Adiram-Filiba, N. ; Blum, S. ; Sanchez-Lopez, J. A. ; Tzfadia, O. ; Omid, A. ; Volpin, H. ; Heifetz, Y. ; Goobes, G. ; Elbaum, R. Siliplant1 protein precipitates silica in sorghum silica cells (vol 71, pg 6830, 2020). JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY 2021, 72, 6672.
Kumar, S. ; Adiram-Filiba, N. ; Blum, S. ; Sanchez-Lopez, J. A. ; Tzfadia, O. ; Omid, A. ; Volpin, H. ; Heifetz, Y. ; Goobes, G. ; Elbaum, R. Siliplant1 protein precipitates silica in sorghum silica cells. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY 2020, 71, 6830-6843.Abstract
Silicon is absorbed by plant roots as silicic acid. The acid moves with the transpiration stream to the shoot, and mineralizes as silica. In grasses, leaf epidermal cells called silica cells deposit silica in most of their volume using an unknown biological factor. Using bioinformatics tools, we identified a previously uncharacterized protein in Sorghum bicolor, which we named Siliplant1 (Slp1). Slp1 is a basic protein with seven repeat units rich in proline, lysine, and glutamic acid. We found Slp1 RNA in sorghum immature leaf and immature inflorescence. In leaves, transcription was highest just before the active silicification zone (ASZ). There, Slp1 was localized specifically to developing silica cells, packed inside vesicles and scattered throughout the cytoplasm or near the cell boundary. These vesicles fused with the membrane, releasing their content in the apoplastic space. A short peptide that is repeated five times in Slp1 precipitated silica in vitro at a biologically relevant silicic acid concentration. Transient overexpression of Slp1 in sorghum resulted in ectopic silica deposition in all leaf epidermal cell types. Our results show that Slp1 precipitates silica in sorghum silica cells.
Carmel, I. ; Tram, U. ; Heifetz, Y. Mating induces developmental changes in the insect female reproductive tract. Current opinion in insect science 2016, 13, 106—113. Publisher's Version
Elgart, M. ; Stern, S. ; Salton, O. ; Gnainsky, Y. ; Heifetz, Y. ; Soen, Y. Impact of gut microbiota on the fly’s germ line. 2016, 7 11280. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Unlike vertically transmitted endosymbionts, which have broad effects on their host’s germ line, the extracellular gut microbiota is transmitted horizontally and is not known to influence the germ line. Here we provide evidence supporting the influence of these gut bacteria on the germ line of Drosophila melanogaster. Removal of the gut bacteria represses oogenesis, expedites maternal-to-zygotic-transition in the offspring and unmasks hidden phenotypic variation in mutants. We further show that the main impact on oogenesis is linked to the lack of gut Acetobacter species, and we identify the Drosophila Aldehyde dehydrogenase (Aldh) gene as an apparent mediator of repressed oogenesis in Acetobacter-depleted flies. The finding of interactions between the gut microbiota and the germ line has implications for reproduction, developmental robustness and adaptation.
Avila, F. W. ; Sánchez-López, J. A. ; McGlaughon, J. L. ; Raman, S. ; Wolfner, M. F. ; Heifetz, Y. Nature and Functions of Glands and Ducts in the Drosophila Reproductive Tract. In Extracellular Composite Matrices in Arthropods; Cohen, E. ; Moussian, B., Ed. Extracellular Composite Matrices in Arthropods; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016; pp. 411–444. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Successful reproduction requires interactions between males and females at many levels: the organisms, their cells (the gametes), and their molecules. Among the latter, secreted products of male and female reproductive glands are especially important. These molecules are particularly well understood in Drosophila melanogaster, because of this insect's excellent molecular genetic tools. Here, we discuss the biology of Drosophila reproductive glands, including their development, structure, and secreted products. These glands include important secretory centers, tissues that play roles in gamete maintenance and perhaps in modification, and organs that mediate dynamic transfer of gametes and molecules, and gamete support and/or discharge. Components of seminal fluid produced by male reproductive glands enter the female during mating. There, they interact with female proteins, neurons, and pathways to convert the female from a ``poised'' pre-mated state to an active post-mating state. This mated state is characterized by high levels of egg production, by sperm storage, and by post-mating behaviors related to re-mating, activity, and feeding. Female reproductive gland secretions include additional molecules important for sperm survival or egg transit. The interplay and coordination between male- and female-derived molecules is an area of intense study. Its conclusions are relevant to understanding reproduction in insects and, more broadly, in all animals, and as well as to questions about chemical communication, hormone biology and evolution.