Extreme aggression in male squid induced by a beta-MSP-like pheromone

Cummins, Scott F., Boal, Jean G., Buresch, Kendra C., Kuanpradit, Chitraporn, Sobhon, Prasert, Holm, Johanna B., Degnan, Bernard M., Nagle, Gregg T. and Hanlon, Roger T. (2011) Extreme aggression in male squid induced by a beta-MSP-like pheromone. Current Biology, 21 4: 322-327. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.038


Author Cummins, Scott F.
Boal, Jean G.
Buresch, Kendra C.
Kuanpradit, Chitraporn
Sobhon, Prasert
Holm, Johanna B.
Degnan, Bernard M.
Nagle, Gregg T.
Hanlon, Roger T.
Title Extreme aggression in male squid induced by a beta-MSP-like pheromone
Formatted title
Extreme aggression in male squid induced by a β-MSP-like pheromone
Journal name Current Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-9822
1879-0445
Publication date 2011-02-22
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.038
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 21
Issue 4
Start page 322
End page 327
Total pages 6
Place of publication Cambridge, MA, U.S.A.
Publisher Cell Press
Language eng
Subject 2700 Medicine
1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract Male-male aggression is widespread in the animal kingdom and subserves many functions related to the acquisition or retention of resources such as shelter, food, and mates. These functions have been studied widely in the context of sexual selection, yet the proximate mechanisms that trigger or strengthen aggression are not well known for many taxa. Various external sensory cues (visual, audio, chemical) acting alone or in combination stimulate the complex behavioral interactions of fighting behaviors [1]. Here we report the discovery of a 10 kDa protein, termed Loligo β-microseminoprotein (Loligo β-MSP), that immediately and dramatically changes the behavior of male squid from calm swimming and schooling to extreme fighting, even in the absence of females. Females synthesize Loligo β-MSP in their reproductive exocrine glands and embed the protein in the outer tunic of egg capsules, which are deposited on the open sea floor. Males are attracted to the eggs visually, but upon touching them and contacting Loligo β-MSP, they immediately escalate into intense physical fighting with any nearby males. Loligo β-MSP is a distant member of the chordate β-microseminoprotein family [2] found in mammalian reproductive secretions, suggesting that this gene family may have taxonomically widespread roles in sexual competition.
Formatted abstract
Male-male aggression is widespread in the animal kingdom and subserves many functions related to the acquisition or retention of resources such as shelter, food, and mates. These functions have been studied widely in the context of sexual selection, yet the proximate mechanisms that trigger or strengthen aggression are not well known for many taxa. Various external sensory cues (visual, audio, chemical) acting alone or in combination stimulate the complex behavioral interactions of fighting behaviors. Here we report the discovery of a 10 kDa protein, termed Loligo β-microseminoprotein (Loligo β-MSP), that immediately and dramatically changes the behavior of male squid from calm swimming and schooling to extreme fighting, even in the absence of females. Females synthesize Loligo β-MSP in their reproductive exocrine glands and embed the protein in the outer tunic of egg capsules, which are deposited on the open sea floor. Males are attracted to the eggs visually, but upon touching them and contacting Loligo β-MSP, they immediately escalate into intense physical fighting with any nearby males. Loligo β-MSP is a distant member of the chordate β-microseminoprotein family found in mammalian reproductive secretions, suggesting that this gene family may have taxonomically widespread roles in sexual competition.

Highlights: ► Squid egg capsules contain a factor that elicits extreme male-male aggression ► The factor in the capsules is a protein contact pheromone termed Loligo β-MSP ► Loligo β-MSP is a distant member of the chordate β-MSP family ► Recombinant Loligo β-MSP induces male-male aggression in the absence of females
Keyword Stimulate mate attraction
Borne protein pheromones
Loligo-pealeii
Agonistic behavior
Chemosensory cues
Secretory protein
Microseminoprotein.
Identification
Loliginidae
Genes
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 06 Sep 2011, 02:31:24 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences