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The Department of Entomology
The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
P.O Box 12, Rehovot 76100, ISRAEL

Tel: 08-9489223 
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Email: orlytal@savion.huji.ac.il

Publications

2016
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.