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Daytime light spectrum affects photoperiodic induction of vernal response in obligate spring migrants.

  • Sur, Sayantan1
  • Sharma, Aakansha1
  • Malik, Indu1
  • Bhardwaj, Sanjay Kumar2
  • Kumar, Vinod3
  • 1 Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India. , (India)
  • 2 Department of Zoology, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut 224005, India. , (India)
  • 3 Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India. Electronic address: [email protected] , (India)
Published Article
Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology
Publication Date
Jun 11, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2021.111017
PMID: 34126231


It is not well understood how the spectral composition (wavelength) of daylight that varies considerably during the day and seasons affects photoperiodic responses in a seasonal species. Here, we investigated the molecular underpinnings of wavelength-dependent photoperiodic induction in migratory redheaded buntings transferred to 13 h long days in neutral (white), 460 nm (blue), 500 nm (green) or 620 nm (red) wavelength that were compared with one another, and to short day controls for indices of the migratory (body fattening and weight gain, and Zugunruhe) and reproductive (testicular maturation) responses. Buntings showed wavelength-dependent photoperiodic response, with delayed Zugunruhe and slower testis maturation under 620 nm red light. Post-mortem comparison of gene expressions further revealed wavelength-dependence of the photoperiodic molecular response. Whereas there were higher retinal expressions of opn2 (rhodopsin) and opn5 (neuropsin) genes in red daylight, and of rhodopsin-like opsin (rh2) gene in green daylight, the hypothalamic opn2 mRNA levels were higher in blue daylight. Similarly, we found in birds under blue daylight an increased hypothalamic expression of genes involved in the photoperiodic induction (thyroid stimulating hormone subunit beta, tshb; eye absent 3, eya3; deiodinase type 2, dio2) and associated neural responses such as the calcium signaling (ATPase sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ transporting 2, atp2a2), dopamine biosynthesis (tyrosine hydroxylase, th) and neurogenesis (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, bdnf). These results demonstrate transcriptional changes in parallel to responses associated with migration and reproduction in buntings, and suggest a role of daylight spectrum in photoperiodic induction of the vernal response in obligate spring avian migrants. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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