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A new vertebrate courtship pheromone, PMF, affects female receptivity in a terrestrial salamander
 

Summary: A new vertebrate courtship pheromone, PMF, affects female
receptivity in a terrestrial salamander
L. D. HOUCK*, C. A. PALMER*, R. A. WATTS*, S. J. ARNOLD*, P. W. FELDHOFF & R. C. FELDHOFF
*Department of Zoology, Oregon State University
yDepartment of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, University of Louisville
(Received 10 June 2005; initial acceptance 10 September 2005;
final acceptance 19 July 2006; published online 2 January 2007; MS. number: A10184R)
Vertebrate pheromones that affect female receptivity have been documented only in salamanders. These
courtship pheromones have been investigated most intensively in plethodontid salamanders. The source
of the plethodontid courtship pheromone is the male's submandibular (mental) gland, which produces
a multiprotein secretion. In earlier work with our main study species, Plethodon shermani (the red-legged
salamander), an extract of protein secretions obtained from male mental glands acted to increase sexual
receptivity in females. In addition, one particular protein in the gland secretion, plethodontid receptivity
factor (PRF), could act alone to increase female receptivity. We now report that a second protein, termed
`plethodontid modulating factor' (PMF), acts oppositely to reduce female receptivity. The natural courtship
pheromone blend thus includes two proteins that separately produce opposing messages, even though the
combined effect of both proteins is to increase female receptivity.
2006 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Plethodon shermani; plethodontid courtship pheromone; PMF; plethodontid receptivity/modulating factors;
red-legged salamander; vertebrate chemical communication during courtship and mating

  

Source: Arnold, Stevan J. - Department of Zoology, Oregon State University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology