College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Michael E. Adams

Michael E. Adams

Professor of Entomology, Cell Biology & Neuroscience

A.B. Biology 1974

UC Riverside

Ph.D Entomology (Insect Physiology) 1978

UC Riverside

Research Areas

Hormonal regulation of development and innate behaviors; isolation, characterization and physiological actions of arthropod venom toxins

Contact Information
3107 Biological Sciences
(951) 827-4746

We examine the molecular physiology of innate animal behaviors known as "fixed action patterns." Our focus is on ecdysis, a fixed action pattern performed by insects each time the old cuticle is shed. Neural signaling pathways underlying ecdysis behaviors arise de novo during each developmental stage following new gene expression under the control of steroid and peptide hormones. Our objective is to explain how behaviors are constructed through coordinated expression, and how they are released through hormonal and neurotransmitter signaling pathways in the brain. A second research area focuses on the biological chemistry of host-parasitoid interactions.

Awards Received

2006 Entomological Society of America, Recognition Award in Insect Physiology 
2002 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 
1981 Max Planck Stipendium 
1980 NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship
1978-79 DAAD Postdoctoral Fellowship


Moore, E.L., Arvidson, R., Banks, C., Urenda, J.P., Duong, E., Mohammed, H., and Adams, M.E. (2018) Ampulexins: A new family of peptides in venom of the emerald jewel wasp, Ampulex compressaBiochemistry, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00916.

Kim, D.-H., Kim, Y.-J., and Adams, M.E. (2018) Endocrine regulation of airway clearance in DrosophilaProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. doi:10.1073/pnas.1717257115/DCSupplemental.

Meiselman, M.R., Kingan, T.G., and Adams, M.E. (2018) Stress-induced reproductive arrest in Drosophila occurs through ETH-deficiency-mediated suppression of oogenesis and ovulation. BMC Biology, DOI 10.1186/s12915-018-0484-9.

Lee, S.S., Ding, Y., Karapetians, N., Rivera-Perez, C., Noriega, F.G., Adams, M.E. (2017) Hormonal signaling cascade during an early adult critical period required for courtship memory retention in DrosophilaCurrent Biology 27(18): 2798-2809.e3.

Meiselman, M., Lee, S.S., Tran, R.-T., Dai, H., Ding, Y., Rivera-Perez, C., Wijesekera, T.P., Dauwalder, B., Noriega, F.G., and Adams, M.E. (2017) Endocrine network essential for reproductive success in Drosophila melanogasterProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1620760114.

Tong, M.Q., Hasan, M. M., Lee, S. S., Haque, M. R., Kim, D.-H., Islam, M. D., Adams, M. E., Park, B. H. (2017) OCT intensity and phase fluctuations correlated with activity-dependent neuronal calcium dynamics in the Drosophila CNS. Biomed. Optics Express, 8(2): 726-735.

Kim, D.-H., Han, M.-R., Lee, G., Lee, S.-S., Kim, Y.-J., and Adams, M.E. (2015) Rescheduling behavioral subunits of a fixed action pattern by genetic manipulation of peptidergic signaling. PLOS Genetics 11: e1005513.

MacWilliam, D., Arensburger, P., Higa, J., Cui, X., and Adams, M.E. (2015) Behavioral and genomic characterization of molt-sleep in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sextaInsect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 62: 154-167.

Jiang, H., Wei, Z., Nachman, R.J., Adams, M.E., and Park, Y. (2014) Functional phylogenetics reveals contributions of pleiotropic peptide action to ligand-receptor coevolution. Sci. Reports 4: 6800.

Rozanski, G.M., Nath, A.R., Adams, M.E., and Stanley, E.F. (2013) Low voltage-activated calcium channels gate transmitter release at the dorsal root ganglion sandwich synapse. J. Physiol. 591: 5575-5583.

Cho, K.-H., Daubnerova, I., Park, Y., Zitnan, D., and Adams, M.E. (2013) Secretory competence in a gateway endocrine cell conferred by the nuclear receptor betaFTZ-F1 enables stage-specific ecdysone responses throughout development in DrosophilaDev. Biol. 385: 253-262.

Banks, C.N. and Adams, M.E. (2012) Biogenic amines in the nervous system of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana following envenomation by the jewel wasp, Ampulex compressa. Toxicon 59: 320-328.

Roller, L., Zitnanova, I., Dai, L., Simo, L., Park, Y., Satake, H., Tanaka, Y., Adams, M.E., and Zitnan, D. (2010) Ecdysis triggering hormone signaling in arthropods. Peptides 31:429-441.

Chang, J.C., Yang, R.-B., Adams, M.E., and Lu, K.-Lu (2009) Receptor guanylyl cyclases in Inka cells targeted by eclosion hormone. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106(32): 13371-6.

Dai, L. and Adams, M.E. (2009) Ecdysis triggering hormone signaling in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegyptiGen. Comp. Endocrinol. 162(1): 43-51.

Kim, Y.-J., Nachman, R.J., Aimanova, K., Gill, S., and Adams, M.E. (2008) The pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN) receptor of Heliothis virescens: Identification, functional expression, and structure-activity relationships of ligand analogs. Peptides 29: 268-275.

Dai, L., Dewey, E.M., Zitnan, D., Luo, C.W., Honegger, H.W., and Adams, M.E. (2008) Identification, developmental expression, and functions of bursicon in the tobacco hawkmoth, Manduca sexta. J. Comp. Neurol. 506: 759-74.

Zitnan, D., Kim, Y.J., Zitnanova, I., Roller, L., and Adams, M.E. (2007) Complex steroid-peptide receptor cascade controls insect ecdysis. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 153: 88-96.

Dai, L., Zitnan, D., and Adams, M.E. (2007) Strategic expression of ion transport peptide gene products in central and peripheral neurons of insects. J. Comp. Neurol. 500: 353-67.

Kim, Y.-J., Zitnan, D., Cho, K.-H., Schooley, D.A., Mizoguchi, A., and Adams, M.E. (2006) Central peptidergic ensembles associated with organization of an innate behavior. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 14211-6.

Kim, Y.-J., Zitnan, D., Galizia, C.G., Cho, K.-H., and Adams, M. E. (2006) A command chemical triggers an innate behavior by sequential activation of multiple peptidergic ensembles. Current Biol. 16: 1395-1407. 

Moore, E.L., Haspel, G. Libersat, F. and Adams, M.E. (2006) Parasitoid Wasp Sting: A Cocktail of GABA, Taurine and B-alanine opens chloride channels for central synaptic block and transient paralysis of a cockroach host. J. Neurobiol. 66: 811-820. 

Park, Y. and Adams, M.E. (2005) Insect G Protein-coupled receptors: Recent discoveries and Implications. In: Comprehensive Insect Biochemistry, Physiology, Pharmacology and Molecular Biology, (L. I. Gilber, K. Iatrou, and S.S. Gill, Eds.), Elsevier Press, London, Vol. 5, pp. 143-171. 

Zitnan, D. and Adams, M.E. (2005) Neuroendocrine Regulation of Insect Ecdysis. In: Comprehensive Insect Biochemistry, Physiology, Pharmacology, and Molecular Biology, (L.I. Gilbert, K. Iatrou and S.S. Gill, Eds.), Elsevier Press, London, Vol. 3, pp. 1-60. 

Adams, M.E. (2004) Agatoxins. Toxicon 43: 509-525. 

Kim, Y., Spalovska-Valachova, I., Cho, K., Zitnanova, I., Park, Y., Adams, M.E. and Zitnan, D. (2004) Corazonin Receptor Signaling in Ecdysis Initiation, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101: 6704-6709. 

Park, Y., Y. J. Kim, V. Dupriez, and M.E. Adams. (2003) Two Subtypes of Ecdysis-triggering Hormone Receptor in Drosophila melanogaster. Biol. Chem. 278: 17710-5. 

Zitnan, D., I. Zitnanova, I. Spalovska, P. Takac, Y. Park and M.E. Adams. (2003) Conservation of ecdysis-triggering hormone signalling in insects. J. Exp. Biol. 206: 1275-89. 

Zitnan, D., L. Hollar, I. Spalovska, P. Takac, I. Zitnanova, S.S. Gill and M.E. Adams. 2002. Molecular cloning and function of ecdysis-triggering hormones in the silkworm Bombyx mori. J. Exp. Biol. 205: 3459-3473. 

Park, Y., Y.J. Kim and M.E. Adams. 2002. identification of G protein-coupled receptors for Drosophila PRXamide peptides, CCAP, corazonin, and AKH supports a theory of ligand-receptor coevolution. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 12:12. 

Park, Y., V. Filippov, S.S. Gill and M.E. Adams. 2002. Deletion of the ecdysis-triggering hormone gene leads to lethal ecdysis deficiency. Development 129: 493-503. 

Zitnanova, I., M.E. Adams, and D. Zitnan. 2001. Dual ecdysteroid action on epitracheal glands and the central nervous system preceding ecdysis of Manduca sexta. J. Exp. Biol. 204: 3483-3495. 

Kingan, T.G., R.A. Cardullo and M.E. Adams. 2001. Signal transduction in eclosion hormone-induced secretion of ecdysis-triggering hormone. J. Biol. Chem. 276: 24135-24142. 

Zhao, Y., Y. Park and M.E. Adams. 2000. Functional and evolutionary consequences of pyrethroid resistance mutations in S6 transmembrane segments of a voltage-gated sodium channel. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 278: 516-521. 

Zitnan, D. and M. E. Adams. 2000. Excitatory and inhibitory roles of central ganglia in initiation of the ecdysis behavioral sequence. J. Exp. Biol. 203: 1329-1340. 

Lee, D., M. Gurevitz and M. E. Adams. 2000. Modification of synaptic transmission and sodium channel inactivation by the insect-selective scorpion toxin LqhalphaIT. J. Neurophysiol. 83(3): 1181-7. 

Kingan, T. G. and M. E. Adams. 2000. Ecdysteroids regulate secretory competence in Inka cells. J. Exp. Biol. 203(19): 3011-3018. 

Yan, L. and M. E. Adams. 2000. The spider toxin omega-Aga IIIA defines a high affinity site on neuronal high voltage-activated calcium channels. J. Biol. Chem. 275(28): 21309-16. 

Lee, D. and M. E. Adams. 2000. Sodium channels in central neurons of the tobacco hornworm, Heliothis virescens: Basic properties and modification by scorpion toxins. J. Insect Physiol. 46: (4): 499-508. 

Zitnan, D. and M. E. Adams. 2000. Excitatory and inhibitory roles of central ganglia in initiation of the ecdysis behavioral sequence. J. Exp. Biol. 203: 1329-1340. 

Zitnan, D., L. S. Ross, I. Zitnanova, J. L. Hermesman, S. S. Gill and M. E. Adams. 1999. Steroid induction of a peptide hormone gene leads to orchestration of a defined behavioral sequence. Neuron 23(3): 523-535. 

Lee, D., Y. Park, T. M. Brown, and M. E. Adams. 1999. Altered properties of neuronal sodium channels associated with genetic resistance to pyrethroids. Molecular Pharmacology 55(3): 584-93. 

Yan, L. and M. E. Adams. 1998. Lycotoxins, antimicrobial peptides from venom of the wolf spider Lycosa carolinensis. J. Biol. Chem. 273(4): 2059-66. 

Adams, M.E. & D. Zitnan. 1997. Identification of ecdysis-triggering hormone in the silkworm Bombyx mori. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 230:188-91. 

Kingan, T. G., W. Gray, D. Zitnan, and M. E. Adams. 1997. Regulation of ecdysis-triggering hormone release by eclosion hormone. J. Exp. Biol. 200: 3245-3256. 

Zitnan, D., T.G. Kingan, J. Hermesman & M.E. Adams. 1996. Identification of ecdysis-triggering hormone from an epitracheal endocrine system. Science 271:88-91. 

Adams, M.E. & G. Swanson. 1996. Neurotoxins. 2nd Edition. Trends Neurosci. Suppl. 17: S1-37. 

Reily, M.D., V. Thanabal & M.E. Adams. 1995. The solution structure of omega-Aga-IVB, a P-type calcium channel antagonist from venom of the funnel web spider, Agelenopsis aperta. J. Biomol. NMR. 5:122-132. 

Olivera, B.M., G. Miljanich, J. Ramachandran & M.E. Adams. 1994. Calcium channel diversity and neurotransmitter release: The w-conotoxins and w-agatoxins. Ann. Rev. Biochem. 63:823-867. 

Adams, M.E. and B.M. Olivera 1994. Neurotoxins: overview of an emerging research technology. Trends Neurosci. 17:151-155. 

Reily, M.D., K.E. Holub, W.R. Gray, T.M. Norris & M.E. Adams. 1994. Structure-activity relationships for P-type calcium channel-selective omega-agatoxins. Nature Structural Biology 1:853-856. 

Adams, M.E., I.M. Mintz, M.D. Reily, V. Thanabal & B.P. Bean 1993. Structure and properties of omega-Aga-IVB, a new antagonist of P-type calcium channels. Mol. Pharm. 44:681-688. 

Adams, M.E., R.A. Myers, J.S. Imperial & B.M. Olivera. 1993 Toxityping rat brain calcium channels with omega-toxins from spider and cone snail venoms. Biochemistry 32:12566-12570. 

Venema, V.J., K. Swiderek, T.D. Lee, G.M. Hathaway & M.E. Adams. 1992 Antagonism of synaptosomal calcium channels by subtypes of omega-agatoxins. J. Biol. Chem. 267:2610-2615. 

Mintz, I.M., V.J. Venema, K.M. Swiderek, T.D. Lee, B.P. Bean & M.E. Adams. 1992. P-type calcium channels blocked by the spider toxin omega-Aga-IVA. Nature 355:827-829. 

Mintz, I.M., V.J. Venema, M.E. Adams & B.P. Bean. 1991. Inhibition of N- and L- type Ca 2+ channels by the spider venom toxin, omega-Aga-IIIA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 88:6628-6631. 

Adams, M.E., V.P. Bindokas, L. Hasegawa & V.J. Venema. 1990. omega-Agatoxins: Novel calcium channel antagonists of two subtypes from funnel web spider (Agelenopsis aperta) venom. J. Biol. Chem. 265:861-867

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