1. Computational and Systems Biology
  2. Neuroscience
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FoxP2 isoforms delineate spatiotemporal transcriptional networks for vocal learning in the zebra finch

  1. Zachary Daniel Burkett  Is a corresponding author
  2. Nancy F Day
  3. Todd Haswell Kimball
  4. Caitlin M Aamodt
  5. Jonathan B Heston
  6. Austin T Hilliard
  7. Xinshu Xiao
  8. Stephanie A White
  1. University of California, Los Angeles, United States
  2. Stanford University, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 2
  • Views 1,722
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Cite as: eLife 2018;7:e30649 doi: 10.7554/eLife.30649

Abstract

Human speech is one of the few examples of vocal learning among mammals yet ~half of avian species exhibit this ability. Its neurogenetic basis is largely unknown beyond a shared requirement for FoxP2 in both humans and zebra finches. We manipulated FoxP2 isoforms in Area X, a song-specific region of the avian striatopallidum analogous to human anterior striatum, during a critical period for song development. We delineate, for the first time, unique contributions of each isoform to vocal learning. Weighted gene coexpression network analysis of RNA-seq data revealed gene modules correlated to singing, learning, or vocal variability. Coexpression related to singing was found in juvenile and adult Area X whereas coexpression correlated to learning was unique to juveniles. The confluence of learning and singing coexpression in juvenile Area X may underscore molecular processes that drive vocal learning in young zebra finches and, by analogy, humans.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Zachary Daniel Burkett

    Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    For correspondence
    zburkett@ucla.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0002-5153-485X
  2. Nancy F Day

    Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Todd Haswell Kimball

    Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Caitlin M Aamodt

    Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Jonathan B Heston

    Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-7479-1122
  6. Austin T Hilliard

    Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Xinshu Xiao

    Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Stephanie A White

    Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

National Institutes of Health (RO1MH07012)

  • Stephanie A White

National Institutes of Health (5T32HD007228)

  • Zachary Daniel Burkett

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: All animal use was in accordance with NIH guidelines for experiments involving vertebrate animals and approved by the University of California, Los Angeles Chancellor's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) under protocol (#2001-54). All surgical procedures were performed under isoflurane anesthetic.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Liqun Luo, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: July 24, 2017
  2. Accepted: January 22, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 23, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: February 26, 2018 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record updated: March 9, 2018 (version 3)

Copyright

© 2018, Burkett et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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