TitleMale pheromone protein components activate female vomeronasal neurons in the salamander Plethodon shermani
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsWirsig-Wiechmann, CR, Houck, L, Wood, JM, Feldhoff, PW, Feldhoff, RC
JournalBmc Neuroscience
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Background: The mental gland pheromone of male Plethodon salamanders contains two main protein components: a 22 kDa protein named Plethodon Receptivity Factor (PRF) and a 7 kDa protein named Plethodon Modulating Factor (PMF), respectively. Each protein component individually has opposing effects on female courtship behavior, with PRF shortening and PMF lengthening courtship. In this study, we test the hypothesis that PRF or PMF individually activate vomeronasal neurons. The agmatine-uptake technique was used to visualize chemosensory neurons that were activated by each protein component individually. Results: Vomeronasal neurons exposed to agmatine in saline did not demonstrate significant labeling. However, a population of vomeronasal neurons was labeled following exposure to either PRF or PMF. When expressed as a percent of control level labeled cells, PRF labeled more neurons than did PMF. These percentages for PRF and PMF, added together, parallel the percentage of labeled vomeronasal neurons when females are exposed to the whole pheromone. Conclusion: This study suggests that two specific populations of female vomeronasal neurons are responsible for responding to each of the two components of the male pheromone mixture. These two neural populations, therefore, could express different receptors which, in turn, transmit different information to the brain, thus accounting for the different female behavior elicited by each pheromone component.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000240990400001