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Mating suppresses alarm response in zebrafish

Diaz Verdugo, Carmen, Sun, Gerald, Fawcett, Caroline, Zhu, Peixin and Fishman, Mark (2019) Mating suppresses alarm response in zebrafish. Current biology, 29. p. 2541. ISSN 1879-0445


Mating and flight from threats are innate behaviors which enhance species survival. Stimuli to these behaviors often are contemporaneous and conflicting. How such conflicts are resolved, and where in the brain such decisions are made, both are poorly understood. For teleosts, olfactory stimuli are key elements of mating and threat responses. For example, zebrafish manifest a stereotypical escape response when exposed to “alarm substance” released from injured conspecific skin. We found that mating zebrafish ignore alarm substance and that a significant part of this suppression is mimicked by water primed by the mating pair. Two-photon imaging of calcium transients in single telencephalic neurons revealed a specific telencephalic region, Dp, activated by alarm substance and another, Vs, is activated by mating water (in addition to overlapping responses in Dm and Dl). When mating water and alarm substance are applied simultaneously, the alarm-specific response in Dp is suppressed while the mating water-specific telencephalic response is retained. Thus, when presented with competing olfactory stimuli, zebrafish enact the stereotypical behaviors of mating over those for alarm and response to threat, and this choice is matched by suppression of activation in the alarm-specific region of the telencephalon. The choice made, for reproduction over escape, is different from mammals, suggesting that it correlates with different a different balance of species survival advantages.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Mating behavior, olfactory conditioning, alarm pheromone, sex pheromone, higher olfactory centers, zebrafish, neuron, calcium imaging
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2019 00:45
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2019 00:45


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