Transcriptional responses to social isolation : characterization of the neuropeptide parathyroid hormone 2

  • Across the entire animal kingdom, sociality, i.e. the tendency of individual animals to form a group with conspecifics, is a common trait. Environmental changes have to be met with corresponding, quick adaptations. For social species, the presence of conspecifics is important for survival and if social animals are deprived of access to conspecifics, this can lead to strong and lasting changes on a physiological level as well as behaviour. Gene expression changes responsible for these adaptations have so far not been understood in detail. As social isolation leads to changes on a neuronal level, it is important to investigate the gene expression changes that are induced in the brain. In this thesis, next-generation RNA-sequencing was applied to zebrafish, a well-established model organism characterized by its high degree of companionship. Within the entire brain, gene expression was analysed in zebrafish that were raised either with conspecifis or in isolation, ranging from 5 to 21 days post fertilization. Using this approach, several genes were identified that were downregulated by social isolation. In this thesis, I focused on one of these consistently downregulated genes, parathyroid hormone 2 (pth2). The expression of pth2 was demonstrated to be bidirectionally regulated by the number of conspecifics present and to be responsive to changes in the social environment within 30 minutes. Regulation of pth2 does not occur by visual or chemosensory access to conspecifcs, but is mediated by mechanosensory perception of other fish via the lateral line. In an experiment using an artificial mechanical stimulation paradigm, it was shown that the features necessary to elicit pth2 transcription closely mimick the locomotion of actual zebrafish. Other, similar stimulation paradigms are not capable to induce this transcriptional response.

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Author:Lukas Anneser
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Erin SchumanORCiDGND, Virginie LecaudeyORCiDGND
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2021/11/11
Year of first Publication:2020
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2021/11/10
Release Date:2021/11/15
Tag:lateral line; neuromodulation; parathyroid hormone 2; social isolation; zebrafish
Page Number:189
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlung Biologie / Biologische Hochschulschriften (Goethe-Universität)
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht