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Distress call-induced gene expression in the brain of the Indian short-nosed fruit bat, Cynopterus sphinx

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  • Centre For Ecological Sciences
  • Biology


Individuals in distress emit audible vocalizations to either warn or inform conspecifics. The Indian short-nosed fruit bat, Cynopterus sphinx, emits distress calls soon after becoming entangled in mist nets, which appear to attract conspecifics. Phase I of these distress calls is longer and louder, and includes a secondary peak, compared to phase II. Activity-dependent expression of egr-1 was examined in free-ranging C. sphinx following the emissions and responses to a distress call. We found that the level of expression of egr-1 was higher in bats that emitted a distress call, in adults that responded, and in pups than in silent bats. Up-regulated cDNA was amplified to identify the target gene (TOE1) of the protein Egr-1. The observed expression pattern Toe1 was similar to that of egr-1. These findings suggest that the neuronal activity related to recognition of a distress call and an auditory feedback mechanism induces the expression of Egr-1. Co-expression of egr-1 with Toe1 may play a role in initial triggering of the genetic mechanism that could be involved in the consolidation or stabilization of distress call memories.

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