Abstract Title

Localization of the G-Protein Coupled Estrogen Receptor 1 in the Developing Zebra Finch Syrinx

Abstract

In songbirds, the vocal organ (syrinx) is located at the junction of the trachea and the bronchi. Males and females use this structure to vocalize, but in select species, males additionally utilize the syrinx to produce song for courtship and nest defense. In parallel with this behavioral ability, certain features of the syrinx such as mass and muscle fiber size are greater in males compared to females. How these dimorphisms arise, however, is not known. Estradiol is believed to contribute, but the mechanisms of its action are not clear. The nuclear estrogen receptors (ERa and ERb) have limited expression within the syrinx suggesting that another receptor(s) is required. One possibility is the membrane-bound G-protein coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1). This receptor is expressed in the zebra finch brain and antagonism of it affects the volume of select song control nuclei (a dimorphic feature). As a step towards understanding whether GPER1 is important for dimorphisms in the syrinx we analyzed its expression during ‘snap shot’ ages of development. Male and female zebra finches were collected at post-hatching (P) days 15 (n=4 males, 2 females), P25 (n=7 males, 6 females), P30 (n=9 males, 5 females), and P35 (n=3 males, 2 females). Animals were perfused, the syrinxes collected, sectioned on a cryostat, and processed for GPER1 protein using standard immunohistological techniques. Data analysis is ongoing, but the prediction is that if GPER1 contributes to sex differences in the syrinx, its expression will be dimorphic at one or more of the examined ages.

Modified Abstract

In many male songbirds, the vocal organ (syrinx) has greater mass and larger muscle fiber size compared to females. Estradiol is believed to contribute to this sex difference, but the receptor through which it acts is not known. The membrane-bound G-protein coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1) is a candidate. To evaluate this possibility, we analyzed its expression during ‘snap shot’ ages of development. Male and female zebra finches were collected at post-hatching (P) days 15, P25, P30, and P35. Animals were perfused, the syrinxes collected, and processed for GPER1 protein using standard immunohistological techniques. Data analysis is ongoing, but we predict that if GPER1 contributes to sex differences in the syrinx, its expression will be dimorphic at one or more of the examined ages.

Research Category

Biology/Ecology

Primary Author's Major

Zoology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Sean Veney

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

5-4-2018 1:00 PM

Research Area

Animal Sciences | Behavioral Neurobiology | Biology | Developmental Biology | Developmental Neuroscience

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Apr 5th, 1:00 PM

Localization of the G-Protein Coupled Estrogen Receptor 1 in the Developing Zebra Finch Syrinx

In songbirds, the vocal organ (syrinx) is located at the junction of the trachea and the bronchi. Males and females use this structure to vocalize, but in select species, males additionally utilize the syrinx to produce song for courtship and nest defense. In parallel with this behavioral ability, certain features of the syrinx such as mass and muscle fiber size are greater in males compared to females. How these dimorphisms arise, however, is not known. Estradiol is believed to contribute, but the mechanisms of its action are not clear. The nuclear estrogen receptors (ERa and ERb) have limited expression within the syrinx suggesting that another receptor(s) is required. One possibility is the membrane-bound G-protein coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1). This receptor is expressed in the zebra finch brain and antagonism of it affects the volume of select song control nuclei (a dimorphic feature). As a step towards understanding whether GPER1 is important for dimorphisms in the syrinx we analyzed its expression during ‘snap shot’ ages of development. Male and female zebra finches were collected at post-hatching (P) days 15 (n=4 males, 2 females), P25 (n=7 males, 6 females), P30 (n=9 males, 5 females), and P35 (n=3 males, 2 females). Animals were perfused, the syrinxes collected, sectioned on a cryostat, and processed for GPER1 protein using standard immunohistological techniques. Data analysis is ongoing, but the prediction is that if GPER1 contributes to sex differences in the syrinx, its expression will be dimorphic at one or more of the examined ages.