From songs to synapses: Molecular mechanisms of birdsong memory

Sanne Moorman, Claudio Mello, Johan J. Bolhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are remarkable behavioral, neural, and genetic similarities between the way songbirds learn to sing and human infants learn to speak. Furthermore, the brain regions involved in birdsong learning, perception, and production have been identified and characterized in detail. In particular, the caudal medial nidopallium (the avian analog of the mammalian auditory-association cortex) has been found to contain the neural substrate of auditory memory, paving the way for analyses of the underlying molecular mechanisms. Recently, the zebra finch genome was sequenced, and annotated cDNA databases representing over 15,000 unique brain-expressed genes are available, enabling high-throughput gene expression analyses. Here we review the involvement of immediate early genes (e.g. zenk and arc), their downstream targets (e.g. synapsins), and their regulatory signaling pathways (e.g. MAPK/ERK) in songbird memory. We propose that in-depth investigations of zenk- and ERK-dependent cascades will help to further unravel the molecular basis of auditory memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-385
Number of pages9
JournalBioEssays
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

Fingerprint

Music
Synapses
Songbirds
Genes
Data storage equipment
Brain
Synapsins
Behavioral Genetics
Finches
Auditory Cortex
Immediate-Early Genes
Equidae
Gene expression
Complementary DNA
Throughput
Learning
Genome
Databases
Gene Expression
Substrates

Keywords

  • Birdsong
  • Genes
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

From songs to synapses : Molecular mechanisms of birdsong memory. / Moorman, Sanne; Mello, Claudio; Bolhuis, Johan J.

In: BioEssays, Vol. 33, No. 5, 05.2011, p. 377-385.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Moorman, Sanne ; Mello, Claudio ; Bolhuis, Johan J. / From songs to synapses : Molecular mechanisms of birdsong memory. In: BioEssays. 2011 ; Vol. 33, No. 5. pp. 377-385.
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