Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Endocrinol. 2016 Feb;30(2):254-71. doi: 10.1210/me.2015-1270. Epub 2016 Jan 8.

Research Resource: Hormones, Genes, and Athleticism: Effect of Androgens on the Avian Muscular Transcriptome.

Author information

Department of Biology (M.J.F.), Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109; Department of Life and Nanopharmaceutical Sciences (J.-H.L.), and Department of Maxillofacial Biomedical Engineering (J.-H.L.), School of Dentistry, Kyung Hee University, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea; Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology (M.J.F., J.-H.L., T.-M.C., J.H.B., J.G.C., X.X., B.A.S.) and Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology (M.J.F., B.A.S.), Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095; and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (B.A.S.), 0843-03092 Balboa, Ancón, Panama.


Male vertebrate social displays vary from physically simple to complex, with the latter involving exquisite motor command of the body and appendages. Studies of these displays have, in turn, provided substantial insight into neuromotor mechanisms. The neotropical golden-collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus) has been used previously as a model to investigate intricate motor skills because adult males of this species perform an acrobatic and androgen-dependent courtship display. To support this behavior, these birds express elevated levels of androgen receptors (AR) in their skeletal muscles. Here we use RNA sequencing to explore how testosterone (T) modulates the muscular transcriptome to support male manakin courtship displays. In addition, we explore how androgens influence gene expression in the muscles of the zebra finch (Taenopygia guttata), a model passerine bird with a limited courtship display and minimal muscle AR. We identify androgen-dependent, muscle-specific gene regulation in both species. In addition, we identify manakin-specific effects that are linked to muscle use during the manakin display, including androgenic regulation of genes associated with muscle fiber contractility, cellular homeostasis, and energetic efficiency. Overall, our results point to numerous genes and gene networks impacted by androgens in male birds, including some that underlie optimal muscle function necessary for performing acrobatic display routines. Manakins are excellent models to explore gene regulation promoting athletic ability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center