Dr. Oded Rechavi

מחלקה לנוירוביולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
Dr. Oded Rechavi
Phone: 03-6409825
Office: Sherman - Life Sciences, 710


In 2010 Oded Rechavi obtained a PhD degree in Biology from Tel Aviv University. Dr. Rechavi then did his Post-doctoral Research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, in Columbia University Medical Center, New York. In his lab in Tel Aviv University Oded’s team has been using powerful genetic tools to study the molecular basis of learning and memory. The Rechavi lab made important contributions to the understanding of RNA biology and evolution, for example, they recently provided direct evidence for Non-Mendelian epigenetic inheritance of acquired traits (Cell 2011; Cell 2014;Cell 2016).




Research Interests

Our principle aim in the lab is to challenge scientific dogmas. Mainly, we aim to use powerful genetic tools to discover novel biological principles. While we are studying many different topics, we recently put special emphasis on mechanisms by which RNA affects formation and inheritance of complex traits. While linking rare Mendelian traits to specific sequence variations has been accelerated, the genetic basis of many common diseases is not understood despite the undertaking of many genome wide association studies. It appears that our current genetic models fall short of faithfully explaining the inheritance of most complex traits.


The inheritance of acquired characteristics is a topic of long-standing interest and controversy. While some of the classic Lamarckian ideas have been dismissed (Weismann 1889), more recent studies suggest that certain traits acquired by an animal during its lifetime may be transmitted to next generations. Using the nematode C.elegans we established a robust model that unequivocally demonstrates “Lamarckian” inheritance and allows probing of the molecular mechanisms underlying such inheritance (for example see Rechavi al. Cell 2011 and Rechavi et al. Cell 2014). We found that the mechanism that allows such heretic phenomena to take place is transgenerational transmission of small RNAs, which mediate RNA interference (RNAi). Our study showed that antiviral RNAs (viRNAs), which protect the worm from viral propagation, can be transmitted from the soma to the germline and pass down to many ensuing generations in a non-Mendelian manner, in the absence of their DNA template, and thus protect RNAi-deficient progeny from viral propagation ("Inherited Vaccine"). Most genes are regulated by different endogenous regulatory small RNA species, and therefore small RNA inheritance might affect the inheritance of many complex traits. We found that inherited small RNAs maintain a memory of previous dietary states (specifically periods of severe starvation). We examine whether small RNAs are involved in the encoding of other “memories”, and if so, whether such regulation transmits transgenerationally. To fully understand how small RNAs regulate complex traits, we are developing sensitive functional assays and novel methods for transcriptome profiling. We have shown that small RNAs (Rechavi et al, Genes & Development 2009) and other macromolecules (Rechavi et al. Nature Methods 2010) serve as intercellular signaling molecules that shuttle between human cells when immunological synapses are transiently formed. Therefore, cellular and perhaps even transgenerational information transfer through RNAs or other molecules may be widely conserved.


Selected Publications

Leah Houri-Ze’evi, Yael Korem, Hila Sheftel, Lior Faigenbloom, Itai Antoine Toker, Yael Dagan, Lama Awad, Luba Degani, Uri Alon, *Oded Rechavi (2016) A Tunable Mechanism Determines the Duration of the Transgenerational Small RNA Inheritance in C. elegans. Cell.


*Rechavi, O., Houri-Ze’evi, L., Anava, S., Goh, WS., Kerk, SY., Hannon, GJ., and Hobert, O.(2014). Starvation-Induced Transgenerational Inheritance of Small RNAs in C. elegans. Cell.

*Corresponding author


Rechavi, O. (2014). Guest list or black list: heritable small RNAs as immunogenic memories‏.Trends in Cell Biology.


*Rechavi, O., Minevich, G., and Hobert, O. (2011). Transgenerational inheritance of an acquired small RNA-based antiviral response in C.elegans. Cell. 147, 1248 1256.

*Corresponding author


Rechavi, O., Kalman, M., Fang, Y., Vernitsky, H., Jacob-Hirsch, J., Foster, L. J., Kloog, Y., and Goldstein, I. (2010). Trans-SILAC: sorting out the non-cell-autonomous proteome. Nature Methods. 7:923-927.


Rechavi, O., Erlich, Y., Amram, H., Flomenblit, L., Karginov, F. V., Goldstein, I, Hannon, G. J., and Kloog, Y. (2009). Cell contact-dependent acquisition of cellular and viral nonautonomously encoded small RNAs. Genes & Development. 23:1971-1979.


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