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Gustavo Rezende

Uenf (State University of North Fluminense)
Avenida Alberto Lamego, 2000, P5, Sala 223
Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ 28013-602

+55 22 2724-1574

Taxa Studied: Invertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Quantitative PCR (qPCR), Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, RNA interference(RNAi), Sectioning for Histology, Epifluoresence Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy
Research Description: Insects are the most successful group of animals on the planet. One of the factors pointed out as being important for this evolutionary success is insect egg architecture and the presence of two extraembryonic membranes: amnion and serosa, which are differentiated from the proper embryo after cellular blastoderm formation. Amnion covers ventrally the developing embryo while serosa surrounds the whole embryo, amnion and yolk. Little is known regarding extraembryonic development and functions in insects but it can be generally stated that amnion and serosa assist the embryo throughout its development. I am interested on serosa function, focusing on the serosa-secreted cuticle. Circumstantial evidences point to a role for serosal cuticle, in mosquitoes from the genera Aedes and Anopheles, in protecting the developing embryo against desiccation. Mosquitoes are vectors of several diseases that affect humanity nowadays such as malaria, filariasis, yellow fever and dengue. Understanding embryonic desiccation resistance can have profound implications on the control of mosquitoes and other insects that are diseases vectors. The species that I’m working with are the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti, Anopheles aquasalis and Culex quinquefasciatus. Our group has preliminary observed that these mosquitoes possess distinct degrees of embryonic desiccation resistance. A comparative study on serosal cuticle formation and the degree of desiccation resistance during and after the end of embryogenesis will be assessed in these three mosquitoes. Both Ae. aegypti and Cx. quinquefsciatus belongs to the Culicinae subfamily while An. aquasalis belongs to the Anophelinae subfamiliy. Aedes and Culex mosquitoes shared their last common ancestor ~ 205 Million years ago, while Culicinae and Anophelinae mosquitoes shared a last common ancestor ~ 217 Million years ago. Given this evolutionary distances, novel insight regarding mosquitoes embryonic desiccation resistance (or sensitivity) can be achieved by this comparative physiological approach. Functional experiments are still necessary to confirm the hypothesis that serosal cuticle is essential to protect developing embryos against desiccation. Besides mosquitoes, I will also use the beetle Tribolium castaneum, a model organism, to address serosa function. Studying gene function in T. castaneum is straightforward since RNAi, in situ hybridization and immunolocalization are techniques readily available. In mosquitoes it is yet necessary to set up these protocols to study gene expression at mid-embryogenesis. A considerable part of my future efforts will be devoted to settle these procedures. With this endeavor I expect to foster the Evo-Devo field in Brazil, which is still nascent in my country
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Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: YES
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