Title

Seasonal Gene Expression In a Migratory Songbird

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2016

Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

The annual migration of a bird can involve thousands of kilometres of nonstop flight, requiring accurately timed seasonal changes in physiology and behaviour. Understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling this endogenous programme can provide functional and evolutionary insights into the circannual biological clock and the potential of migratory species to adapt to changing environments. Under naturally timed photoperiod conditions, we maintained captive Swainson's thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) and performed RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) of the ventral hypothalamus and optic chiasma to evaluate transcriptome-wide gene expression changes of individuals in migratory condition. We found that 188 genes were differentially expressed in relation to migratory state, 86% of which have not been previously linked to avian migration. Focal hub genes were identified that are candidate variables responsible for the occurrence of migration (e.g. CRABP1). Numerous genes involved in cell adhesion, proliferation and motility were differentially expressed (including RHOJ, PAK1 and TLN1), suggesting that migration-related changes are regulated by seasonal neural plasticity.

Publication Title

Molecular Ecology

Volume

25

Issue

22

First Page

5680

Last Page

5691

Share

 
COinS