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1.  In-vivo Optical Tomography of Small Scattering Specimens: time-lapse 3D imaging of the head eversion process in Drosophila melanogaster 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7325.
Even though in vivo imaging approaches have witnessed several new and important developments, specimens that exhibit high light scattering properties such as Drosophila melanogaster pupae are still not easily accessible with current optical imaging techniques, obtaining images only from subsurface features. This means that in order to obtain 3D volumetric information these specimens need to be studied either after fixation and a chemical clearing process, through an imaging window - thus perturbing physiological development -, or during early stages of development when the scattering contribution is negligible. In this paper we showcase how Optical Projection Tomography may be used to obtain volumetric images of the head eversion process in vivo in Drosophila melanogaster pupae, both in control and headless mutant specimens. Additionally, we demonstrate the use of Helical Optical Projection Tomography (hOPT) as a tool for high throughput 4D-imaging of several specimens simultaneously.
PMCID: PMC4255187  PMID: 25471694
2.  Use of Mutagenesis, Genetic Mapping and Next Generation Transcriptomics to Investigate Insecticide Resistance Mechanisms 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40296.
Insecticide resistance is a worldwide problem with major impact on agriculture and human health. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms is crucial for the management of the phenomenon; however, this information often comes late with respect to the implementation of efficient counter-measures, particularly in the case of metabolism-based resistance mechanisms. We employed a genome-wide insertional mutagenesis screen to Drosophila melanogaster, using a Minos-based construct, and retrieved a line (MiT[w−]3R2) resistant to the neonicotinoid insecticide Imidacloprid. Biochemical and bioassay data indicated that resistance was due to increased P450 detoxification. Deep sequencing transcriptomic analysis revealed substantial over- and under-representation of 357 transcripts in the resistant line, including statistically significant changes in mixed function oxidases, peptidases and cuticular proteins. Three P450 genes (Cyp4p2, Cyp6a2 and Cyp6g1) located on the 2R chromosome, are highly up-regulated in mutant flies compared to susceptible Drosophila. One of them (Cyp6g1) has been already described as a major factor for Imidacloprid resistance, which validated the approach. Elevated expression of the Cyp4p2 was not previously documented in Drosophila lines resistant to neonicotinoids. In silico analysis using the Drosophila reference genome failed to detect transcription binding factors or microRNAs associated with the over-expressed Cyp genes. The resistant line did not contain a Minos insertion in its chromosomes, suggesting a hit-and-run event, i.e. an insertion of the transposable element, followed by an excision which caused the mutation. Genetic mapping placed the resistance locus to the right arm of the second chromosome, within a ∼1 Mb region, where the highly up-regulated Cyp6g1 gene is located. The nature of the unknown mutation that causes resistance is discussed on the basis of these results.
PMCID: PMC3386967  PMID: 22768270
3.  Wolbachia Prophage DNA Adenine Methyltransferase Genes in Different Drosophila-Wolbachia Associations 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19708.
Wolbachia is an obligatory intracellular bacterium which often manipulates the reproduction of its insect and isopod hosts. In contrast, Wolbachia is an essential symbiont in filarial nematodes. Lately, Wolbachia has been implicated in genomic imprinting of host DNA through cytosine methylation. The importance of DNA methylation in cell fate and biology calls for in depth studing of putative methylation-related genes. We present a molecular and phylogenetic analysis of a putative DNA adenine methyltransferase encoded by a prophage in the Wolbachia genome. Two slightly different copies of the gene, met1 and met2, exhibit a different distribution over various Wolbachia strains. The met2 gene is present in the majority of strains, in wAu, however, it contains a frameshift caused by a 2 bp deletion. Phylogenetic analysis of the met2 DNA sequences suggests a long association of the gene with the Wolbachia host strains. In addition, our analysis provides evidence for previously unnoticed multiple infections, the detection of which is critical for the molecular elucidation of modification and/or rescue mechanism of cytoplasmic incompatibility.
PMCID: PMC3089641  PMID: 21573076
4.  The DNA transposon Minos as a tool for transgenesis and functional genomic analysis in vertebrates and invertebrates 
Genome Biology  2007;8(Suppl 1):S2.
Transposons are powerful tools for conducting genetic manipulation and functional studies in organisms that are of scientific, economic, or medical interest. Minos, a member of the Tc1/mariner family of DNA transposons, exhibits a low insertional bias and transposes with high frequency in vertebrates and invertebrates. Its use as a tool for transgenesis and genome analysis of rather different animal species is described.
PMCID: PMC2106841  PMID: 18047694
5.  Heads or Tails: Host-Parasite Interactions in the Drosophila-Wolbachia System 
Wolbachia strains are endosymbiotic bacteria typically found in the reproductive tracts of arthropods. These bacteria manipulate host reproduction to ensure maternal transmission. They are usually transmitted vertically, so it has been predicted that they have evolved a mechanism to target the host's germ cells during development. Through cytological analysis we found that Wolbachia strains display various affinities for the germ line of Drosophila. Different Wolbachia strains show posterior, anterior, or cortical localization in Drosophila embryos, and this localization is congruent with the classification of the organisms based on the wsp (Wolbachia surface protein) gene sequence. This embryonic distribution pattern is established during early oogenesis and does not change until late stages of embryogenesis. The posterior and anterior localization of Wolbachia resembles that of oskar and bicoid mRNAs, respectively, which define the anterior-posterior axis in the Drosophila oocyte. By comparing the properties of a single Wolbachia strain in different host backgrounds and the properties of different Wolbachia strains in the same host background, we concluded that bacterial factors determine distribution, while bacterial density seems to be limited by the host. Possible implications concerning cytoplasmic incompatibility and evolution of strains are discussed.
PMCID: PMC520876  PMID: 15345422
6.  High frequencies of Minos transposon mobilization are obtained in insects by using in vitro synthesized mRNA as a source of transposase 
Nucleic Acids Research  2002;30(15):3333-3340.
One of the most frequently encountered problems in transposon-mediated transgenesis is low transformation frequency, often resulting from difficulty in expressing from injected plasmid DNA constructs adequate levels of transposase in embryos. Capped RNA corresponding to the spliced transcript of the Minos transposable element has been synthesized in vitro and shown to be an effective source of transposase protein for Minos transposon mobilization. Transposase produced by this mRNA is shown to catalyze excision of a Minos transposon from plasmid DNA in Medfly embryos. When injected into Drosophila or Medfly embryos, transposase mRNA leads to a several-fold increase in transformation efficiencies compared with injected plasmids expressing transposase. Also, frequent mobilization of a Minos transposon from the X chromosome into autosomes was demonstrated after injections of Minos transposase mRNA into pre-blastoderm Drosophila embryos. The high rates of transposition achieved with transposase mRNA suggest that this is a powerful system for genetic applications in Drosophila and other insects.
PMCID: PMC137079  PMID: 12140317
7.  Gene Organization of the dnaA Region of Wolbachia 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(15):4708-4710.
The dnaA region of Wolbachia, an intracellular bacterial parasite of insects, is unique. A glnA cognate was found upstream of the dnaA gene, while neither of the two open reading frames detected downstream of dnaA has any homologue in the database. This unusual gene arrangement may reflect requirements associated with the unique ecological niche this agent occupies.
PMCID: PMC103611  PMID: 10419978

Results 1-7 (7)