Courtship pheromones in the Mexican axolotl.

Margo Maex, Ines Van Bocxlaer, Anneleen Mortier, Paul Proost, Franky Bossuyt

Onderzoeksoutput: Meeting abstract (Book)


Pheromones play a crucial role in salamander courtship and until now, only plethodontid and salamandrid courtship pheromones have been studied intensively, while knowledge on chemical communication in other urodelan families is essentially lacking. Mole salamanders (Ambystomatidae) diverged about 150 million years ago from salamandrids and therefore constitute a long branch of unexplored evolutionary history in amphibian evolution. The best-known ambystomatid, the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), has been serving as a model organism since the mid-19th century and observational records on its reproductive behaviour are readily available. During courtship, males widely open their cloaca while undulating their body and tail. A responsive female orients herself towards the male’s cloaca, follows him and eventually picks up the sperm package deposited by the male in the environment. Although axolotls display courtship behaviour that suggests a key role for pheromones in the orchestration of their sexual behaviour, pheromones of this species have not yet been characterized. Here we combined proteomic analyses with transcriptome analyses (RNASeq) of the male cloaca to show that male axolotls secrete multiple sodefrin precursor-like factor (SPF) proteins in the water during courtship. In combination with phylogenetic analyses, our data show that the male cloaca secretes a courtship-specific clade of SPF proteins that are orthologous with salamandrid courtship pheromones. In addition, we identified an SPF protein for which no orthologs have been described from other salamanders so far. Overall, our study advocates a central role for SPF proteins in axolotl courtship and presents a small set of promising
pheromone candidates that can be studied in future behavioural experiments.
Originele taal-2English
Titel8th European Conference of Behavioural Biology (ECBB), Vienna, Austria - Oral presentation
Aantal pagina's1
StatusPublished - 12 jul 2016
Evenement8th European Conference of Behavioural Biology, Vienna, Austria - Spitalgasse 2-4, 1090 Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Duur: 12 jul 201615 jul 2016
Congresnummer: 8


Conference8th European Conference of Behavioural Biology, Vienna, Austria
Verkorte titelECBB 2016
Internet adres


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