More to pheromones than meets the nose.
Nature Neuroscience (impact factor: 15.53). 03/2008; 11(2):128-9. DOI:10.1038/nn0208-128
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ABSTRACT: Individual variation in a specialised set of scent communication proteins, the major urinary proteins (MUPs), provides a genetic identity signature that underlies individual and kin recognition, and the assessment of heterozygosity in wild house mice. Here we examine the extent to which MUP variation is retained among 30 classical strains of laboratory mice from three main lineages (Castle, C57, Swiss). Normal wild-type variation in urinary MUP pattern appears to have been lost at an early stage in the derivation of the classical laboratory strains. All strains from the Castle and Swiss lineages shared the same "individual" MUP pattern, consistent with common ancestry from very few founders, while those from the C57 lineage shared a different pattern. Notably, individual variation in MUP pattern was no greater within the Swiss outbred ICR (CD-1) strain than typical for inbred strains. Total urinary protein concentration varied considerably between even closely related substrains, together with minor variation in the relative amount of each MUP isoform expressed, although the functional significance of such quantitative variation in MUP expression has yet to be established. Expression was 2-8 fold higher among males, while a MUP expressed by most male but not female wild mice was expressed by C57 males but variably among Castle and Swiss males and occasionally by females in some strains. The lack of normal variation in MUP patterns within and between strains has important implications for the use of laboratory mice in behavioural or neurophysiological research investigating social recognition or mate choice.Physiology & Behavior 11/2008; 96(2):253-61. · 2.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Appropriate displays of aggression rely on the ability to recognize potential competitors. As in most species, Drosophila males fight with other males and do not attack females. In insects, sex recognition is strongly dependent on chemosensory communication, mediated by cuticular hydrocarbons acting as pheromones. While the roles of chemical and other sensory cues in stimulating male to female courtship have been well characterized in Drosophila, the signals that elicit aggression remain unclear. Here we show that when female pheromones or behavior are masculinized, males recognize females as competitors and switch from courtship to aggression. To masculinize female pheromones, a transgene carrying dsRNA for the sex determination factor transformer (traIR) was targeted to the pheromone producing cells, the oenocytes. Shortly after copulation males attacked these females, indicating that pheromonal cues can override other sensory cues. Surprisingly, masculinization of female behavior by targeting traIR to the nervous system in an otherwise normal female also was sufficient to trigger male aggression. Simultaneous masculinization of both pheromones and behavior induced a complete switch in the normal male response to a female. Control males now fought rather than copulated with these females. In a reciprocal experiment, feminization of the oenocytes and nervous system in males by expression of transformer (traF) elicited high levels of courtship and little or no aggression from control males. Finally, when confronted with flies devoid of pheromones, control males attacked male but not female opponents, suggesting that aggression is not a default behavior in the absence of pheromonal cues. Thus, our results show that masculinization of either pheromones or behavior in females is sufficient to trigger male-to-female aggression. Moreover, by manipulating both the pheromonal profile and the fighting patterns displayed by the opponent, male behavioral responses towards males and females can be completely reversed. Therefore, both pheromonal and behavioral cues are used by Drosophila males in recognizing a conspecific as a competitor.PLoS Biology 01/2010; 8(11):e1000541. · 11.45 Impact Factor
Article: Urine from Sexually Mature Intact Male Mice Contributes to Increased Cardiovascular Responses during Free-Roaming and Restrained Conditions.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Pheromones in the urine regulate aggression of male mice and castrated males produce less of these pheromones. We tested the hypothesis that pheromones in the urine of sexually mature-intact (SMI) males placed in the cage bedding of an individually housed male mouse or in a mouse restrainer would contribute to a significant increase in mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), and activity. Sexually mature male C57BL/6 mice were implanted with a biotelemetry transmitter to measure MAP, HR, and activity. Urine (200 μL) from SMI mice placed in the cages of singularly housed male mice caused significant changes above baseline values for MAP (21 ± 4 mmHg), HR (145 ±25 bpm), and activity (9 2 counts) when compared to urine from castrated mice-induced MAP (11 ± 3 mmHg), HR (70 ± 15 bpm), and activity (5 ± 1 counts). Pretreatment with terazosin significantly reduced the change in MAP (9 ± 3 mmHg), heart rate (90 ± 15 bpm), and activity (4 ± 2 counts) responses to urine from SMI males. Saline did not significantly increase MAP, HR, or activity in any group. During restraint, urine from SMI mice caused a significant change in MAP (5 ±0.4 mmHg) and HR (17 ±1 bpm); urine from castrated mice did not cause a significant increase in MAP and HR. Our results demonstrate that a significant increase in MAP, HR, and activity occurs when male mice are exposed to urine pheromones from SMI males. In summary, pheromones in the urine of SMI male excreted in the cage bedding and mouse restrainers contribute to a significant increase in cardiovascular responses in the absence of direct physical contact with a different male mouse or animal handler.ISRN veterinary science. 01/2012; 2012.
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