Annual Meeting of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
[en] Songbirds have developed a specialized, steroid-dependent telencephalic vocal control system for the production of learned vocalization. Recent progress in the study of the mechanisms by which steroid receptors act on the eukaryotic genome has highlighted the role of a newly discovered protein family, the Nuclear Receptor Coactivators. More specifically, the CREB-binding protein (CBP) and the Steroid Receptor Coactivator-1 (SRC-1) have been shown to be actively involved in mediating steroid hormone action in the developing rat brain. The distribution of the coactivator SRC-1 was analyzed in canaries by in situ hybridization. A very broad but heterogeneous distribution of the transcript was observed, mainly in steroid-sensitive areas of the hypothalamus, the song control system and several catecholaminergic areas. The presence of SRC-1 in these regions was also confirmed by immunocytochemistry. A similar very high concentration of the coactivator CBP protein was also found in steroid-sensitive areas of the hypothalamus and in the song system. Sex differences in SRC-1 mRNA concentration were detected in HVC and in area X. Moreover, preliminary data obtained independently in starlings (CBP) and in quail (SRC-1) suggest that the expression of coactivators is regulated by steroids as well as by photoperiod. The presence of these steroid receptor coactivators in the telencephalic song control nuclei and in catecholaminergic cell groups that innervate the song system and their possible regulation by photoperiod and/or steroids support the idea that SRC-1 and CBP could play an important role in the control of singing behavior by modulating estrogen and androgen receptor action.