Testosterone Affects Neural Gene Expression Differently in Male and Female Juncos: A Role for Hormones in Mediating Sexual Dimorphism and Conflict

Mark P. Peterson, Kimberly A. Rosvall, Jeong Hyeon Choi, Charles Ziegenfus, Haixu Tang, John K. Colbourne, Ellen D. Ketterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite sharing much of their genomes, males and females are often highly dimorphic, reflecting at least in part the resolution of sexual conflict in response to sexually antagonistic selection. Sexual dimorphism arises owing to sex differences in gene expression, and steroid hormones are often invoked as a proximate cause of sexual dimorphism. Experimental elevation of androgens can modify behavior, physiology, and gene expression, but knowledge of the role of hormones remains incomplete, including how the sexes differ in gene expression in response to hormones. We addressed these questions in a bird species with a long history of behavioral endocrinological and ecological study, the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis), using a custom microarray. Focusing on two brain regions involved in sexually dimorphic behavior and regulation of hormone secretion, we identified 651 genes that differed in expression by sex in medial amygdala and 611 in hypothalamus. Additionally, we treated individuals of each sex with testosterone implants and identified many genes that may be related to previously identified phenotypic effects of testosterone treatment. Some of these genes relate to previously identified effects of testosterone-treatment and suggest that the multiple effects of testosterone may be mediated by modifying the expression of a small number of genes. Notably, testosterone-treatment tended to alter expression of different genes in each sex: only 4 of the 527 genes identified as significant in one sex or the other were significantly differentially expressed in both sexes. Hormonally regulated gene expression is a key mechanism underlying sexual dimorphism, and our study identifies specific genes that may mediate some of these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere61784
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 16 2013

Fingerprint

Junco
Gene expression
Sex Characteristics
sexual dimorphism
testosterone
Testosterone
Genes
hormones
Hormones
Gene Expression
gene expression
gender
Junco hyemalis
genes
amygdala
hormone secretion
Steroid hormones
Negotiating
steroid hormones
hypothalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

Testosterone Affects Neural Gene Expression Differently in Male and Female Juncos : A Role for Hormones in Mediating Sexual Dimorphism and Conflict. / Peterson, Mark P.; Rosvall, Kimberly A.; Choi, Jeong Hyeon; Ziegenfus, Charles; Tang, Haixu; Colbourne, John K.; Ketterson, Ellen D.

In: PloS one, Vol. 8, No. 4, e61784, 16.04.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Peterson, Mark P. ; Rosvall, Kimberly A. ; Choi, Jeong Hyeon ; Ziegenfus, Charles ; Tang, Haixu ; Colbourne, John K. ; Ketterson, Ellen D. / Testosterone Affects Neural Gene Expression Differently in Male and Female Juncos : A Role for Hormones in Mediating Sexual Dimorphism and Conflict. In: PloS one. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 4.
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