Research lines

The research carried out by this lab aims at understanding the mechanisms that regulate insect oogenesis. The model used is Blattella germanica, an insect with a panoistic ovary type, which is the most primitive ovary type among insects. This lab studies the expression of the genes involved in the main signalling pathways and its regulation by hormones and by the small non-coding RNA that modulates them. The comparison of these results with those already described in other, more modified insect species, suggests that some functions are preserved in evolution, although the regulation of these functions could have changed.

Lab website: Insect Reproduction Lab

Principal Investigator

Maria Dolors Piulachs Bagà

Piulachs Bagà, Maria Dolors
CSIC Research Scientist
Insect Reproduction Lab

Current members



Benítez, Alba
Master student
Insect Reproduction Lab

Escudero Ruíz, Jorge
Scientific support personnel
Insect Reproduction Lab

Núria Farrús Bartolo

Farrús Bartolo, Núria
Predoctoral Researcher
Nutricional signals in Insects Lab

Pagone, Viviana Carina
Laboratory Technician
Nutritional signals in Insects

Shirai, Yu
Evolution of Insect Metamorphosis Lab

Ongoing projects


Shirai Y, Piulachs M, Belles X, Daimon T. 2022. DIPA-CRISPR is a simple and accessible method for insect gene editing. Cell Reports Methods, 2(5):100215. DOI:10.1016/j.crmeth.2022.100215

Montañes JC, Rojano C, Ylla G, Piulachs MD, Maestro JL. 2021. siRNA enrichment in Argonaute 2-depleted Blattella germanica. BBA - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms, 1864 (6-7): 194704. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2021.194704

Ramos S, Chelemen F, Pagone V, Elshaer N, Irles P, Piulachs MD. 2020. Eyes absent in the cockroach panoistic ovaries regulates proliferation and differentiation through ecdysone signalling. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 123(103407). DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2020.103407

Ylla G, Piulachs MD, Belles X. 2018. Comparative Transcriptomics in Two Extreme Neopterans Reveals General Trends in the Evolution of Modern Insects. iScience, 4:164-179. DOI:10.1016/j.isci.2018.05.017

Ylla G, Piulachs MD, Belles X. 2018. Comparative Transcriptomics in Two Extreme Neopterans Reveals General Trends in the Evolution of Modern Insects. iScience, 4:164-179. DOI:10.1016/j.isci.2018.05.017

Rubio M, Maestro JL, Piulachs MD, Belles X. 2018. Conserved association of Argonaute 1 and 2 proteins with miRNA and siRNA pathways throughout insect evolution, from cockroaches to flies. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms, 1861(6):554-560. DOI:10.1016/j.bbagrm.2018.04.001

Llonga N, Ylla G, Bau J, Belles X, Piulachs MD. 2018. Diversity of piRNA expression patterns during the ontogeny of the German cockroach. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution, 330(5):288-295. DOI:10.1002/jez.b.22815

Harrison MC, Jongepier E, Robertson HM, Arning N, Bitard-Feildel T, Chao H, Childers CP, Dinh H, Doddapaneni H, Dugan S, Gowin J, Greiner C, Han Y, Hu H, Hughes DST, Huylmans AK, Kemena C, Kremer LPM, Lee SL, Lopez-Ezquerra A, Mallet L, Monroy-Kuhn JM, Moser A, Murali SC, Muzny DM, Otani S, Piulachs MD, Poelchau M, Qu J, Schaub F, Wada-Katsumata A, Worley KC, Xie Q, Ylla G, Poulsen M, Gibbs RA, Schal C, Richards S, Belles X, Korb J, Bornberg-Bauer E. 2018. Hemimetabolous genomes reveal molecular basis of termite eusociality. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2(3):557-566. DOI:10.1038/s41559-017-0459-1

Harrison MC, Arning N, Kremer LPM, Ylla G, Belles X, Bornberg-Bauer E, Huylmans AK, Jongepier E, Piulachs MD, Richards S, Schal C. 2018. Expansions of key protein families in the German cockroach highlight the molecular basis of its remarkable success as a global indoor pest. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution, 330(5):254-264. DOI:10.1002/jez.b.22824

Ylla G, Piulachs MD, Belles X. 2017. Comparative analysis of miRNA expression during the development of insects of different metamorphosis modes and germ-band types. BMC Genomics, 18(1):1-13. DOI:10.1186/s12864-017-4177-5

Irles P, Ramos S, Piulachs MD. 2017. SPARC preserves follicular epithelium integrity in insect ovaries. Developmental Biology, 422(2):105-114. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.01.005

Macedo LM, Nunes FM, Freitas FC, Pires CV, Tanaka ED, Martins JR, Piulachs MD, Cristino AS, Pinheiro DG, Simões ZL. 2016. MicroRNA signatures characterizing caste-independent ovarian activity in queen and worker honeybees (A pis mellifera L.). Insect Molecular Biology, 25(3):216-226. DOI:10.1111/imb.12214

Dillon MB, Schulten V, Oseroff C, Paul S, Dullanty LM, Frazier A, Belles X, Piulachs MD, Visness C, Bacharier L, Bloomberg GR, Busse P, Sidney J, Peters B, Sette A. 2015. Different Bla-g T cell antigens dominate responses in asthma versus rhinitis subjects. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 45(12):1856-1867. DOI:10.1111/cea.12643

Carot-Sans G, Muñoz L, Piulachs MD, Guerrero A, Rosell G. 2015. Identification and characterization of a fatty acyl reductase from a Spodoptera littoralis female gland involved in pheromone biosynthesis. Insect Molecular Biology, 24(1):82-92. DOI:10.1111/imb.12138

Belles X, Piulachs MD. 2015. Ecdysone signalling and ovarian development in insects: From stem cells to ovarian follicle formation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms, 1849(2):181-186. DOI:10.1016/j.bbagrm.2014.05.025

Patiño-Navarrete R, Piulachs MD, Belles X, Moya A, Latorre A, Peretó J. 2014. The cockroach Blattella germanica obtains nitrogen from uric acid through a metabolic pathway shared with its bacterial endosymbiont. Biology Letters, 10(7):7-10. DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0407

Herraiz A, Belles X, Piulachs MD. 2014. Chorion formation in panoistic ovaries requires windei and trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 9. Experimental Cell Research, 320(1):46-53. DOI:10.1016/j.yexcr.2013.07.006

Irles P, Silva-Torres FA, Piulachs MD. 2013. RNAi reveals the key role of Nervana 1 in cockroach oogenesis and embryo development. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 43(2):178-188. DOI:10.1016/j.ibmb.2012.12.003

Donato Tanaka E, Piulachs MD. 2012. Dicer-1 is a key enzyme in the regulation of oogenesis in panoistic ovaries. Biology of the Cell, 104(8):452-461. DOI:10.1111/boc.201100044

Boher F, Trefault N, Piulachs MD, Bellés X, Godoy-Herrera R, Bozinovic F. 2012. Biogeographic origin and thermal acclimation interact to determine survival and hsp90 expression in Drosophila species submitted to thermal stress. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 162 (4):391-396. DOI:10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.04.017

Irles P, Piulachs MD. 2011. Citrus, a key insect eggshell protein. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 41(2):101-108. DOI:10.1016/j.ibmb.2010.11.001

Herraiz A, Chauvigné F, Cerdà J, Bellés X, Piulachs MD. 2011. Identification and functional characterization of an ovarian aquaporin from the cockroach Blattella germanica L. (Dictyoptera, Blattellidae). Journal of Experimental Biology, 214(21):3630-3638. DOI:10.1242/jeb.057406

Folguera G, Bastías DA, Caers J, Rojas JM, Piulachs MD, Bellés X, Bozinovic F. 2011. An experimental test of the role of environmental temperature variability on ectotherm molecular, physiological and life-history traits: Implications for global warming. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 159(3):242-246. DOI:10.1016/j.cbpa.2011.03.002

Cristino AS, Tanaka ED, Rubio M, Piulachs MD, Belles X. 2011. Deep sequencing of organ- and stage-specific micrornas in the evolutionarily basal insect Blattella germanica (L.) (Dictyoptera, Blattellidae). PLoS ONE, 6(4). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0019350

Clynen E, Ciudad L, Bellés X, Piulachs MD. 2011. Conservation of fruitless’ role as master regulator of male courtship behaviour from cockroaches to flies. Development Genes and Evolution, 221(1):43-48. DOI:10.1007/s00427-011-0352-x

Bortolin F, Piulachs MD, Congiu L, Fusco G. 2011. Cloning and expression pattern of the ecdysone receptor and retinoid X receptor from the centipede Lithobius peregrinus (Chilopoda, Lithobiomorpha). General and Comparative Endocrinology, 174(1):60-69. DOI:10.1016/j.ygcen.2011.08.008