Singing is silver, hearing is gold: impacts of local FoxP1 knockdowns on auditory perception and gene expression in female zebra finches
The experiments described in this thesis employ local lentiviral knockdowns in brain areas of female zebra finches followed by behavioural assays consisting of preference and Go/Nogo tasks.
- Heim, F.D.
- 12 May 2022
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
The experiments described in this thesis employ local lentiviral knockdowns in brain areas of female zebra finches followed by behavioural assays consisting of preference and Go/Nogo tasks. Ultimately, the targeted brain areas are extracted for gene expression analyses.The findings suggest that localised reduction of FoxP1 expression in HVC or CMM of female zebra finches does not impair the establishment or maintenance of auditory memories of conspecific song nor the females’ ability to discriminate or categorise auditory stimuli based on spectral or sequential features. Females which received a knockdown of FoxP1 in HVC as adults requested fewer familiar and unfamiliar playbacks and had a lower preference for familiar song than their matched controls. This might suggest that FoxP1 contributes to motivational behaviours in female zebra finches.Gene expression analyses links FoxP1 to pathways that have previously also been associated with FOXP2 in mammals including retinoic acid signalling and the SLIT-ROBO signalling cascade. Altered energy metabolism in different brain areas might also contribute to the observed phenotypes.Ultimately, the results presented in this thesis suggest implications of the transcription factor FoxP1 beyond vocal motor learning which need to be investigated in future studies.