Removing an Organ Makes Female Act Like Male

At
least in mice, that is: rendering the href="http://neuro.fsu.edu/%7Emmered/index.htm">vomeronasal
organ inactive by deleting the gene href="http://www.informatics.jax.org/searches/accession_report.cgi?id=MGI%3A109527">TRPC2
(transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily C, member 2)
results in profound behavioral changes.  This was reported on Nature
News
: href="http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070730/full/070730-13.html">Nose
goes, gender bends.  They include a video (link
below the fold) of mouse sexual behavior (which may not be safe for
work, depending on the kind of place you work in.)



The actual research article is here:



href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature06089.html"> face="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif">A
functional circuit underlying male sexual behaviour in the female mouse
brain.


Nature advance
online publication 5 August 2007 | doi:10.1038/nature06089


Tali Kimchi,
Jennings Xu & Catherine Dulac




In
mice, pheromone detection is mediated by the vomeronasal organ and the
main olfactory epithelium. Male mice that are deficient for Trpc2, an
ion channel specifically expressed in VNO neurons and essential for VNO
sensory transduction, are impaired in sex discrimination and
male–male aggression. We report here that Trpc2-/- female
mice show a reduction in female-specific behaviour, including maternal
aggression and lactating behaviour. Strikingly, mutant females display
unique characteristics of male sexual and courtship behaviours such as
mounting, pelvic thrust, solicitation, anogenital olfactory
investigation, and emission of complex ultrasonic vocalizations towards
male and female conspecific mice. The same behavioural phenotype is
observed after VNO surgical removal in adult animals, and is not
accompanied by disruption of the oestrous cycle and sex hormone levels.
These findings suggest that VNO-mediated pheromone inputs act in
wild-type females to repress male behaviour and activate female
behaviours. Moreover, they imply that functional neuronal circuits
underlying male-specific behaviours exist in the normal female mouse
brain.

 

The href="http://www.hhmi.org/news/popups/dulac_mov_pop20070805.html">video
shows a female mouse and a male mouse, with the female doing things it
ordinarily would not do.   (The female is the lighter-colored mouse.)



If you do not have access to the full article or to Nature News, there
is a nice explanation on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute site: href="http://www.hhmi.org/news/dulac20070805.html">Disabling
a Sensory Organ Prompts Female Mice to Act Like Male Mice
.



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