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Characterisation of input and output mechanisms in the zebra finch circadian system

Jones, Catherine Linda (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Circadian rhythms are biochemical, physiological, or behavioural over 24 hours. The avian circadian system is complex, involving numerous oscillators in the brain. I characterised two hypothalamic input mechanism (melatonin receptors and light) and one output mechanism (vasotocin) in the zebra finch. Melatonin receptors were cloned and expression levels investigated in the brain and in peripheral tissues. Receptors were found in all tissues, with some pronounced rhythmic mRNA expression. Tissue-specific differences in temporal distribution, peak expression and amplitude suggests melatonin have varied roles in different tissues and different receptors control/influence these roles. Effect of light in the hypothalamus was investigated by exposing light into the dark phase of an LD cycle and studying the difference in C-FOS expression. C-FOS was found in hypothalamic nuclei associated with photic transduction. C-FOS-IR cells were also found in the two known avian hypothalamic oscillators, the LHN and SCN. Arginine-Vasotocin is a neuropeptide involved in numerous bodily and nervous tissue functions, secreted within the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Immunofluorescent experiments showed marked differences in expression, as different zeitgeber times and between species. This study has improved our understanding of avian circadian systems, providing new insights into the hypothalamic oscillator of a complex circadian organisation.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Brandstaetter, Roland
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Biosciences
Additional Information:

Work related to this thesis is published as

Jones, Catherine and Helfer, Gisela and Brandstaetter, Roland (2012)
Melatonin receptor expression in the zebra finch brain and peripheral tissues.
Chronobiology International.

Subjects:QH Natural history
QH301 Biology
QR Microbiology
SF Animal culture
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3132
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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