Principal Investigator: Xavier Bellés Principal Investigator: Xavier Bellés

Research lines Research lines

The historical antecedents

Historically, our goals and interests have been traditionally diverse, trying to embrace a number subjects around the physiology of the insect. In general, research has focused on physiological processes regulated by hormones. Therefore, we have studied the biochemical and regulatory aspects of the hormones themselves (juvenile hormone, ecdysteroids and regulatory peptides), and also the processes dependent on them, like metamorphosis and vitellogenesis (especially in connexion with juvenile hormone and ecdysteroids), molting, oogenesis and chorion formation (in connexion with ecdysteroids) and food intake and growth (in connexion with peptides and proteins). [more].

The present research
The endocrine regulation of insect metamorphosis has been a long term theme of research and training in the Belles group, which started in the late 1970's. We are interested in the regulation of metamorphosis not only from a developmental point of view but also from an evolutionary perspective. As most information has been obtained in holometabolan species (mainly in the fly Drosophila melanogaster and the beetle Tribolium castaneum), we focus our research on the cockroach Blattella germanica, a phylogenetically basal species showing a gradual metamorphosis that might be close to the ancestral hemimetaboly. We aim at elucidating the mechanisms that regulate metamorphosis in B. germanica and then to compare them with those operating in holometabolan species. The idea is to infer the evolutionary history and the molecular mechanisms underlying the transition from hemimetaboly to holometaboly.

Insect metamorphosis is a complex process, and we concentrate on three main subjects:

  • Qualitative metamorphic changes
  • Transcription factors involved
  • Small RNAs
  • Complex networks

 

Lab website: Bellés Lab

News News

Principal Investigator Principal Investigator

Current members Current members

Publications since 2011 Publications since 2011

Lin,Y.;Huang, J.; Liu, Y.; Belles, X.; Lee, H. 2017. Oral delivery of dsRNA lipoplexes to German cockroach protects dsRNA from degradation and induces RNAi response Pest Management Science. 73: 5, 960-966

Borras-Castells, F.; Nieva, C.; Maestro, J.L.; Maestro, O.; Belles, X.; Martín, D. 2017. Juvenile hormone biosynthesis in adult Blattella germanica requires nuclear receptors Seven-up and FTZ-F1. Sci Rep 7:40234.

Bellés, X. 2017. MicroRNAs and the Evolution of Insect Metamorphosis. Annual review of entomology 62:111-25

Ylla, G.; Fromm, B.; Piulachs, M.D.; and Belles, X. 2016. The microRNA toolkit of insects. Scientific Reports 6:37736. doi: 10.1038/srep37736

Santos, C.G.; Fernandez-Nicolas, A.; and Belles, X. 2016. Smads and insect hemimetabolan metamorphosisDevelopmental Biology 417(1):104-13

Ongoing projects Ongoing projects

In the media In the media

10th September, 2017. La Vanguardia - Magazine. "En un mundo sin insectos". With comments of Xavier Bellés, Ignacio Ribera and Roger Vila.

4th July, 2017. betevé. "Deuwatts: Insectes, estrelles de l'evolució".  With the participation of Xavier Bellés and Roger Vila's group.

On the outreach program "Barcelona International Youth Science Challenge (BIYSC)":


About the illustration exhibition Bestiari, with the participation of Xavier Bellès.


3rd March, 2016. El Periódico. "El declivi dels pol·linitzadors amenaça el mercat alimentari" (with the participation of Xavier Bellés).


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