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Nature and Functions of Glands and Ducts in the Drosophila Reproductive Tract


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.


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.