Epigenetic influence of social experiences across the lifespan. Developmental Psychobiology, 52, 299-311
Department of Psychology, Columbia University, Room 406, Schermerhorn Hall, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA.Developmental Psychobiology (Impact Factor: 3.31). 05/2010; 52(4):299-311. DOI: 10.1002/dev.20436
The critical role of social interactions in driving phenotypic variation has long been inferred from the association between early social deprivation and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Recent evidence has implicated molecular pathways involved in the regulation of gene expression as one possible route through which these long-term outcomes are achieved. These epigenetic effects, though not exclusive to social experiences, may be a mechanism through which the quality of the social environment becomes embedded at a biological level. Moreover, there is increasing evidence for the transgenerational impact of these early experiences mediated through changes in social and reproductive behavior exhibited in adulthood. In this review, recent studies which highlight the epigenetic effects of parent-offspring, peer and adult social interactions both with and across generations will be discussed and the implications of this research for understanding the developmental origins of individual differences in brain and behavior will be explored.
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- "In several cases, genetic information only accounts for a small part of the observed phenotypic variation. Both physical and social environments play a critical role during development, finely regulating the expression of genes and producing a wide range of phenotypic differences (Nijhout 2003; Monaghan 2008; Branchi 2009; Champagne 2010). Highly organized societies composed of closely related individuals, such as colonies of eusocial insects, provide excellent examples for the existence of such mechanisms. "
ABSTRACT: In complex societies, communication signals function as fine tools for regulating social structure and coordinating activities, while enabling groups to adjust their strategies flexibly in response to ecological conditions. Social wasps of the genus Polistes perform vibratory movements, which are expressed by dominant individuals mainly during adult-larva feeding interactions. Recent investigations have hypothesized that these signals may influence caste differentiation during larval development. We tested this hypothesis by conducting behavioural observations in the field, in three populations of social wasps (Polistes biglumis) differing in caste ratio: In some populations, foundresses produce workers and future reproductives; in others, workers are rarely produced. We observed that only foundresses produced vibratory signals, which were expressed during larval feeding sessions and only in the period before offspring emergence. Foundresses belonging to populations with workers spent more time producing vibratory signals than those from populations where workers are rare. In some populations, social parasites invaded colonies and subdued host foundresses. Subdued foundresses produced fewer vibratory signals than foundresses of unparasitized colonies. Our data suggest that the dominant status is necessary for the expression of vibratory signals and show that foundresses from different populations produced different numbers of vibratory signals. This difference can be explained well by the hypothesis that vibratory signals influence larval development and promote the production of workers. We suggest that these signals may have been the target of selective forces, in order to regulate caste ratio and maximize colony fitness under local conditions.
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- "DNA methylation , histone tail modifications, noncoding RNAs). Epigenetic modifications can mediate responses to environmental cues (Bastow et al. 2004; Petronis 2010; Feil & Fraga 2012), including behavioural (Champagne 2010, 2012; Mifsud et al. 2011) and circadian rhythm responses (DiTacchio et al. 2011; Fustin et al. 2013; Azzi et al. 2014). For example, DNA methylation is involved in transcriptional silencing, alternative splicing and activating intragenic promoters (reviewed in Jones 2012) and acts as a reversible mechanism to drive circadian clock behavioural plasticity in mice (Mus musculus; Azzi et al. 2014). "
ABSTRACT: Migration is essential for the reproduction and survival of many animals, yet little is understood about its underlying molecular mechanisms. We used the salmonid Oncorhynchus mykiss to gain mechanistic insight into smoltification, which is a morphological, physiological, and behavioral transition undertaken by juveniles in preparation for seaward migration. O. mykiss is experimentally tractable and displays intra- and inter-population variation in migration propensity. Migratory individuals can produce non-migratory progeny and vice versa, indicating a high degree of phenotypic plasticity. One potential way that phenotypic plasticity might be linked to variation in migration-related life history tactics is through epigenetic regulation of gene expression. To explore this, we quantitatively measured genome-scale DNA methylation in fin tissue using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing of F2 siblings produced from a cross between steelhead (migratory) and rainbow trout (non-migratory) lines. We identified 57 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) between smolt and resident O. mykiss juveniles. DMRs were high in magnitude, with up to 62% differential methylation between life history types, and over half of the gene-associated DMRs were in transcriptional regulatory regions. Many of the DMRs encode proteins with activity relevant to migration-related transitions (e.g. circadian rhythm pathway, nervous system development, protein kinase activity). This study provides the first evidence of a relationship between epigenetic variation and life history divergence associated with migration-related traits in any species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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- "Among environmental factors common to all infants during this critical developmental period, postnatal diet is distinctive in being characterized by limited variations that are clearly defined, i.e., during the first few months of life virtually all infants are either breast-fed or formula fed. Since dietary factors, nutritional status, and mother–infant interactions exert epigenetic effects on health and behavior (Attig et al., 2010; Champagne, 2010; McKay and Mathers, 2011), it is plausible that the differences among these diets in composition and feeding method could promote diet-specific epigenetic effects that interact with other factors to produce individualized physiologic-behavioral profiles. Surprisingly, the role of infant diet in the determination of individual differences has been largely neglected. "
ABSTRACT: Postnatal nutrition influences neurodevelopment, but it is not known whether the development of individual differences in physiologic measures is related to variations in early postnatal diet. To address this issue we studied the stability of vagal tone (V)-an index of individual differences in parasympathetic heart rate control-by measuring resting V quarterly during infancy and again at 2 years in 146 breast-fed (BF), 143 milk formula-fed (MF), and 137 soy formula-fed (SF) infants. Stability of V across infancy was more consistently significant for BF than formula-fed infants. Stability was similar for boys and girls in BF and SF groups but was generally higher in boys than girls in the MF group. Significant stability between infancy and 2 years emerged later in SF than other groups and later in boys than girls. Stability generally peaked between 6 and 9 months - a time when postnatal vagal myelination slows and which may represent a pivotal stage in the development of V stability. These findings indicate that infant diet and gender are important modulators of the early development of autonomic state control. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.