Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 562085
Title Exploration of tissue-specific gene expression patterns underlying timing of breeding in contrasting temperature environments in a song bird
Author(s) Laine, Veronika N.; Verhagen, Irene; Mateman, A.C.; Pijl, Agata; Williams, Tony D.; Gienapp, Phillip; Oers, Kees van; Visser, Marcel E.
Source BMC Genomics 20 (2019). - ISSN 1471-2164
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-6043-0
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) Aves - Seasonal timing - Selection line - Transcriptomics
Abstract

Background: Seasonal timing of breeding is a life history trait with major fitness consequences but the genetic basis of the physiological mechanism underlying it, and how gene expression is affected by date and temperature, is not well known. In order to study this, we measured patterns of gene expression over different time points in three different tissues of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal-liver axis, and investigated specifically how temperature affects this axis during breeding. We studied female great tits (Parus major) from lines artificially selected for early and late timing of breeding that were housed in two contrasting temperature environments in climate-controlled aviaries. We collected hypothalamus, liver and ovary samples at three different time points (before and after onset of egg-laying). For each tissue, we sequenced whole transcriptomes of 12 pools (n = 3 females) to analyse gene expression. Results: Birds from the selection lines differed in expression especially for one gene with clear reproductive functions, zona pellucida glycoprotein 4 (ZP4), which has also been shown to be under selection in these lines. Genes were differentially expressed at different time points in all tissues and most of the differentially expressed genes between the two temperature treatments were found in the liver. We identified a set of hub genes from all the tissues which showed high association to hormonal functions, suggesting that they have a core function in timing of breeding. We also found ample differentially expressed genes with largely unknown functions in birds. Conclusions: We found differentially expressed genes associated with selection line and temperature treatment. Interestingly, the latter mainly in the liver suggesting that temperature effects on egg-laying date may happen down-stream in the physiological pathway. These findings, as well as our datasets, will further the knowledge of the mechanisms of tissue-specific avian seasonality in the future.

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