This study investigated whether, in photoperiodic songbirds, the circadian pacemaker system (CPS) connects to the seasonal photoperiodic responses, by changes at transcriptional level in the level and 24-h rhythm of its constituent neurotransmitters. We used black-headed buntings (Emberiza melanocephala), which exhibit distinct seasonal states in captivity under appropriate photoperiods and hence served as a useful model system. Under short days, buntings remain in the photosensitive state (Pse) (winter phenotype: non-migratory, non-breeding). Under long days, however, buntings undergo through early-photostimulated (spring phenotype: pre-migratory, pre-breeding), late photostimulated (summer phenotype: migratory, breeding) and photorefractory (autumn phenotype: post-breeding) states. During all four seasonal states, we measured in the retina, pineal and hypothalamus, which together form avian CPS, 4-hourly mRNA expression of c-fos (a neuronal-activity marker) and of genes coding for neuropeptides (vasoactive intestinal peptide, vip; somatostatin, sst; neuropeptide Y, npy) and for intermediary enzymes of amino acid (glutamate: glutaminase, gls and glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase 2, got2; GABA: glutamic acid decarboxylase, gad65) and amine (dopamine: tyrosine hydroxylase, th) neurotransmitters biosynthetic pathway. There was a significant alteration in level and 24-h pattern of mRNA expression, albeit with seasonal differences in presence, waveform parameters and phase relationship of 24-h rhythm, of different genes. Particularly, mRNA expression of all candidate genes (except hypothalamic vip, pineal gls and retinal th) was arrhythmic in late photostimulated state. These results underscore that circadian rhythm of peptide, amino acid and amine neurotransmitter biosynthesis in CPS plays a critical role in the photoperiodic regulation of seasonal states in birds.
|Number of pages||16|
|State||Published - Feb 10 2018|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The help rendered by Prof. Sangeeta Rani during the experimentation is acknowledged. The funds were provided by the Department of Biotechnology , New Delhi through a research grant ( BT/PR4984/MED/30/752/2012 ) to VK. IM received a Senior Research Fellowship from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research , New Delhi. The experimental facility used for experiments at the University of Lucknow, India, was built with the support from the Science and Engineering Research Board , New Delhi under IRHPA to VK.
© 2017 IBRO
- gene expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)