Project description:The present study aims at understanding differential gene-expression patterns in the female mouse brain tissues at different stages of reproductive life cycle Methods: Total RNA from brain tissues of 3, 12 and 40 week old female mice was subjected to cDNA and labelled cRNA synthesis and hybridized on 4X44k array. For the same samples, transcriptome sequencing was done followed by qPCR validation of the common genes. Data was analyzed using Gene spring GX 11.5 with MM10 reference along with GSEA and STRING analysis. We primarily focused on understanding gene expression changes in female mice brain which occur during various reproductive life stages viz. 3, 12, 40 weeks which is akin to adolescent, mature and pre-menopausal states.The genes involved in metabolic activity, neurological activity, inflammation and signalling along with genes involved in reproductive regulation show differential expression. The changes observed provide physiological insights in changes in the female brain associated with development, fertility and progressing age. Overall design: Agilent two-color experiment, Organism: Mouse, Agilent Whole Genome Mouse 4x44K (AMADID: 026655). Single channel based analysis was performed,.
Project description:Studies of a hybrid zone between two house mouse subspecies (Mus musculus musculus and M. m. domesticus) along with studies using laboratory crosses reveal a large role for the X chromosome and multiple autosomal regions in reproductive isolation as a consequence of disrupted epistasis in hybrids. One limitation of previous work has been that most of the identified genomic regions have been large. The goal here is to detect and characterize precise genomic regions underlying reproductive isolation. We surveyed 1401 markers evenly spaced across the genome in 679 mice collected from two different transects. Comparisons between transects provide a means for identifying common patterns that likely reflect intrinsic incompatibilities. We used a genomic cline approach to identify patterns that correspond to epistasis. From both transects, we identified contiguous regions on the X chromosome in which markers were inferred to be involved in epistatic interactions. We then searched for autosomal regions showing the same patterns and found they constitute about 5% of autosomal markers. We discovered substantial overlap between these candidate regions underlying reproductive isolation and QTL for hybrid sterility identified in laboratory crosses. Analysis of gene content in these regions suggests a key role for several mechanisms, including the regulation of transcription, sexual conflict and sexual selection operating at both the postmating prezygotic and postzygotic stages of reproductive isolation. Taken together, these results indicate that speciation in two recently diverged (c. 0.5 Ma) house mouse subspecies is complex, involving many genes dispersed throughout the genome and associated with distinct functions.
Project description:Because of their ecological importance, amphipod crustacea are employed worldwide as test species in environmental risk assessment. Although proteomics allows new insights into the molecular mechanisms related to the stress response, such investigations are rare for these organisms because of the lack of comprehensive protein sequence databases. Here, we propose a proteogenomic approach for identifying specific proteins of the freshwater amphipod Gammarus fossarum, a keystone species in European freshwater ecosystems. After deep RNA sequencing, we created a comprehensive ORF database. We identified and annotated the most relevant proteins detected through a shotgun tandem mass spectrometry analysis carried out on the proteomes from three major tissues involved in the organism's reproductive function: the male and female reproductive systems, and the cephalon, where different neuroendocrine glands are present. The 1,873 mass-spectrometry-certified proteins represent the largest crustacean proteomic resource to date, with 218 proteins being lineage specific. Comparative proteomics between the male and female reproductive systems indicated key proteins with strong sexual dimorphism. Protein expression profiles during spermatogenesis at seven different stages highlighted the major gammarid proteins involved in the different facets of reproduction.
Project description:Androgens/androgen receptor (AR) signaling is involved primarily in the development of male-specific phenotypes during embryogenesis, spermatogenesis, sexual behavior, and fertility during adult life. However, this signaling has also been shown to play an important role in development of female reproductive organs and their functions, such as ovarian folliculogenesis, embryonic implantation, and uterine and breast development. The establishment of the testicular feminization (Tfm) mouse model exploiting the X-linked Tfm mutation in mice has been a good in vivo tool for studying the human complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, but this mouse may not be the perfect in vivo model. Mouse models with various cell-specific AR knockout (ARKO) might allow us to study AR roles in individual types of cells in these male and female reproductive systems, although discrepancies are found in results between labs, probably due to using various Cre mice and/or knocking out AR in different AR domains. Nevertheless, no doubt exists that the continuous development of these ARKO mouse models and careful studies will provide information useful for understanding AR roles in reproductive systems of humans and may help us to develop more effective and more specific therapeutic approaches for reproductive system-related diseases.
Project description:Parental care plays a key role in ontogeny, life-history trade-offs, sexual selection and intra-familial conflict. Studies focusing on understanding causes and consequences of variation in parental effort need to quantify parental behaviour accurately. The applied methods are, however, diverse even for a given species and type of parental effort, and rarely validated for accuracy. Here we focus on variability of parental behaviour from a methodological perspective to investigate the effect of different samplings on various estimates of parental effort. We used nest box cameras in a captive breeding population of zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, a widely used model system of sexual selection, intra-familial dynamics and parental care. We investigated diurnal and reproductive stage-dependent variation in parental effort (including incubation, brooding, nest attendance and number of feedings) based on 12h and 3h continuous video-recordings taken at various reproductive stages. We then investigated whether shorter (1h) sampling periods provided comparable estimates of overall parental effort and division of labour to those of longer (3h) sampling periods. Our study confirmed female-biased division of labour during incubation, and showed that the difference between female and male effort diminishes with advancing reproductive stage. We found individually consistent parental behaviours within given days of incubation and nestling provisioning. Furthermore, parental behaviour was consistent over the different stages of incubation, however, only female brooding was consistent over nestling provisioning. Parental effort during incubation did not predict parental effort during nestling provisioning. Our analyses revealed that 1h sampling may be influenced heavily by stochastic and diurnal variation. We suggest using a single longer sampling period (3h) may provide a consistent and accurate estimate for overall parental effort during incubation in zebra finches. Due to the large within-individual variation, we suggest repeated longer sampling over the reproductive stage may be necessary for accurate estimates of parental effort post-hatching.
Project description:Bacterial symbionts of insects affect a wide array of host traits including fitness and immunity. Octodonta nipae (Maulik), commonly known as hispid leaf beetle is a destructive palm pest around the world. Understanding the dynamics of microbiota is essential to unravel the complex interplay between O. nipae and its bacterial symbionts. In this study, bacterial 16S rRNA V3-V4 region was targeted to decipher the diversity and dynamics of bacterial symbionts across different life stages [eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult (male and female)] and reproductive organs (ovaries and testis) of O. nipae. Clustering analysis at ?97% similarity threshold produced 3,959 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that belonged to nine different phyla. Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes represented the bulk of taxa that underwent notable changes during metamorphosis. Enterobacteriaceae and Dermabacteraceae were the most abundant families in immature stages (eggs, larvae, and pupae), while Anaplasmataceae family was dominated in adults (male and female) and reproductive organs (ovaries and testis). The genus Serratia and Lactococcus were most abundant in eggs, whereas Pantoea and Brachybacterium represented the bulk of larvae and pupae microbiota. Interestingly the genus Wolbachia found positive to all tested samples and was recorded extremely high (>64%) in the adults and reproductive organs. The bacteria varied across the developmental stages and responsible for various metabolic activities. Selection choice exerted by the insect host as a result of its age or developmental stage could be the main reason to ascertain the shift in the bacteria populations. Maternally inherited Wolbachia was found to be an obligate endosymbiont infecting all tested life stages, body parts, and tissues. These outcomes foster our understanding of the intricate associations between bacteria and O. nipae and will incorporate in devising novel pest control strategies against this palm pest.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The connection between testosterone and territoriality in free-living songbirds has been well studied in a reproductive context, but less so outside the breeding season. To assess the effects of seasonal androgenic action on territorial behavior, we analyzed vocal and non-vocal territorial behavior in response to simulated territorial intrusions (STIs) during three life-cycle stages in free-living male black redstarts: breeding, molt and nonbreeding. Concurrently, we measured changes in circulating testosterone levels, as well as the mRNA expression of androgen and estrogen receptors and aromatase in the preoptic, hypothalamic and song control brain areas that are associated with social and vocal behaviors.<h4>Results</h4>Territorial behavior and estrogen receptor expression in hypothalamic areas did not differ between stages. But plasma testosterone was higher during breeding than during the other stages, similar to androgen receptor and aromatase expression in the preoptic area. The expression of androgen receptors in the song control nucleus HVC was lower during molt when birds do not sing or sing rarely, but similar between the breeding and the nonbreeding stage. Nevertheless, some song spectral features and the song repertoire differed between breeding and nonbreeding. Territorial behavior and song rate correlated with the expression of steroid receptors in hypothalamic areas, and in the song control nucleus lMAN.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results demonstrate seasonal modulation of song, circulating testosterone levels, and brain sensitivity to androgens, but a year-round persistency of territorial behavior and estrogen receptor expression in all life-cycle stages. This suggests that seasonal variations in circulating testosterone concentrations and brain sensitivity to androgens is widely uncoupled from territorial behavior and song activity but might still affect song pattern. Our study contributes to the understanding of the complex comparative neuroendocrinology of song birds in the wild.
Project description:The development of the brain is sex-dimorphic, and as a result so are many neurological disorders. One approach for studying sex-dimorphic brain development is to measure gene expression in biological samples using RT-qPCR. However, the accuracy and consistency of this technique relies on the reference gene(s) selected. We analyzed the expression of ten reference genes in male and female samples over three stages of brain development, using popular algorithms NormFinder, GeNorm and Bestkeeper. The top ranked reference genes at each time point were further used to quantify gene expression of three sex-dimorphic genes (Wnt10b, Xist and CYP7B1). When comparing gene expression between the sexes expression at specific time points the best reference gene combinations are: Sdha/Pgk1 at E11.5, RpL38/Sdha E12.5, and Actb/RpL37 at E15.5. When studying expression across time, the ideal reference gene(s) differs with sex. For XY samples a combination of Actb/Sdha. In contrast, when studying gene expression across developmental stage with XX samples, Sdha/Gapdh were the top reference genes. Our results identify the best combination of two reference genes when studying male and female brain development, and emphasize the importance of selecting the correct reference genes for comparisons between developmental stages.
Project description:Standard evolutionary theory of ageing predicts weaker purifying selection on genes critical to later life stages. Prolonged post-reproductive lifespan (PPRLS), observed only in a few species like humans, is likely a result of disparate relaxation of purifying selection on survival and reproduction in late life stages. While the exact origin of PPRLS is under debate, many researchers agree on hypotheses like mother-care and grandmother-care, which ascribe PPRLS to investment into future generations-provision to one's descendants to enhance their overall reproductive success. Here, we simulate an agent-based model, which properly accounts for age-specific selection, to examine how different investment strategies affect the strength of purifying selection on survival and reproduction. We observed in the simulations that investment strategies that allow a female individual to remain contributive to its own descendants (infants and adults) at late life stages may lead to differential relaxation of selection on survival and reproduction, and incur the adaptive evolution of PPRLS.
Project description:In this report, we studied the vitellogenin gene family in the whiteleg shrimp <i>Litopenaeus vannamei</i> by transcriptomics, bioinformatics, and molecular biology methods. At least three moderately homologous vitellogenin (Vg) genes (i.e. <i>LvVg1</i>, <i>LvVg2</i>, and <i>LvVg3</i>) were identified in the genome. The deduced LvVg proteins consisted of a vitellogenin_N domain, a DUF1943 domain, and a VWD domain typical of most vitellogenins from oviparous animals. <i>LvVg1</i> was the most abundant <i>Vg</i> expressed in the hepatopancreas and ovary of maturing females. Furthermore, multiple isoforms of <i>LvVg1</i> were evolved presumably due to the need for rapid Vg production during the rapid phase of vitellogenesis. <i>LvVg</i> transcripts were detected in different larval stages, juveniles, and subadults. During the non-reproductive cycle, <i>LvVg</i> expression in the hepatopancreas peaked at the intermolt stages. During the female vitellogenesis cycle, a two-phase expression pattern of <i>LvVg1</i> gene was observed in the hepatopancreas and ovary. Moreover, the eyestalk optic nerve, brain, and thoracic ganglion consisted of factors that differentially regulated the expression of the three <i>Vg</i> genes. In addition to their reproduction-related roles, Vg may also be involved in growth and molt-related processes. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the early expansion and separation of these <i>Vg</i> genes, and it is most likely correlated with the expansion of <i>Vg</i>'s function. In conclusion, the evolution of multiple <i>LvVg1</i> isoforms and the acquisition of different <i>Vg</i> genes (i.e. <i>LvVg2</i> and <i>LvVg3</i>) may occur universally in most decapods. Full information on the total number of <i>Vg</i> genes and precise knowledge on the expression pattern and endocrine regulation of each <i>Vg</i> during all life cycle stages are crucial for us to understand the roles of this emerging gene family in the control of shrimp reproduction and other non-reproductive processes.