Identification of dopamine receptors across the extant avian family tree and analysis with other clades uncovers a polyploid expansion among vertebrates.

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2015

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Abstract

Dopamine is an important central nervous system transmitter that functions through two classes of receptors (D1 and D2) to influence a diverse range of biological processes in vertebrates. With roles in regulating neural activity, behavior, and gene expression, there has been great interest in understanding the function and evolution dopamine and its receptors. In this study, we use a combination of sequence analyses, microsynteny analyses, and phylogenetic relationships to identify and characterize both the D1 (DRD1A, DRD1B, DRD1C, and DRD1E) and D2 (DRD2, DRD3, and DRD4) dopamine receptor gene families in 43 recently sequenced bird genomes representing the major ordinal lineages across the avian family tree. We show that the common ancestor of all birds possessed at least seven D1 and D2 receptors, followed by subsequent independent losses in some lineages of modern birds. Through comparisons with other vertebrate and invertebrate species we show that two of the D1 receptors, DRD1A and DRD1B, and two of the D2 receptors, DRD2 and DRD3, originated from a whole genome duplication event early in the vertebrate lineage, providing the first conclusive evidence of the origin of these highly conserved receptors. Our findings provide insight into the evolutionary development of an important modulatory component of the central nervous system in vertebrates, and will help further unravel the complex evolutionary and functional relationships among dopamine receptors.

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10.3389/fnins.2015.00361

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Haug-Baltzell, Asher, Erich D Jarvis, Fiona M McCarthy and Eric Lyons (2015). Identification of dopamine receptors across the extant avian family tree and analysis with other clades uncovers a polyploid expansion among vertebrates. Front Neurosci, 9. p. 361. 10.3389/fnins.2015.00361 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11116.

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Scholars@Duke

Jarvis

Erich David Jarvis

Adjunct Professor in the Deptartment of Neurobiology

Dr. Jarvis' laboratory studies the neurobiology of vocal communication. Emphasis is placed on the molecular pathways involved in the perception and production of learned vocalizations. They use an integrative approach that combines behavioral, anatomical, electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques. The main animal model used is songbirds, one of the few vertebrate groups that evolved the ability to learn vocalizations. The generality of the discoveries is tested in other vocal learning orders, such as parrots and hummingbirds, as well as non-vocal learners, such as pigeons and non-human primates. Some of the questions require performing behavior/molecular biology experiments in freely ranging animals, such as hummingbirds in tropical forest of Brazil. Recent results show that in songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds, perception and production of song are accompanied by anatomically distinct patterns of gene expression. All three groups were found to exhibit vocally-activated gene expression in exactly 7 forebrain nuclei that are very similar to each other. These structures for vocal learning and production are thought to have evolved independently within the past 70 million years, since they are absent from interrelated non-vocal learning orders. One structure, Area X of the basal ganglia's striatum in songbirds, shows large differential gene activation depending on the social context in which the bird sings. These differences may reflect a semantic content of song, perhaps similar to human language.

The overall goal of the research is to advance knowledge of the neural mechanisms for vocal learning and basic mechanisms of brain function. These goals are further achieved by combined collaborative efforts with the laboratories of Drs. Mooney and Nowicki at Duke University, who study respectively behavior and electrophysiological aspects of songbird vocal communication.


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