TitleA recombinant courtship pheromone affects sexual receptivity in a plethodontid salamander
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHouck, L, Watts, RA, Arnold, SJ, Bowen, KE, Kiemnec, KM, Godwin, HA, Feldhoff, PW, Feldhoff, RC
JournalChemical Senses
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Pheromones are important chemical signals for many vertebrates, particularly during reproductive interactions. In the terrestrial salamander Plethodon shermani, a male delivers proteinaceous pheromones to the female as part of their ritualistic courtship behavior. These pheromones increase the female's receptivity to mating, as shown by a reduction in courtship duration. One pheromone component in particular is plethodontid receptivity factor (PRF), a 22-kDa protein with multiple isoforms. This protein alone can act as a courtship pheromone that causes the female to be more receptive. We used a bacterial expression system to synthesize a single recombinant isoform of PRF. The recombinant protein was identical to the native PRF, based on mass spectrometry, circular dichroism spectra, and a behavioral bioassay that tested the effects of recombinant PRF (rPRF) on female receptivity (21% reduction in courtship duration). The rPRF appears to mimic the activity of a mixture of PRF isoforms, as well as a mixture of multiple different proteins that comprise the male courtship gland extract. Pheromones that are peptides have been characterized for some vertebrates; to date, however, rPRF is one of only 2 synthesized vertebrate proteins to retain full biological activity.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000259202600005