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Monday, 30 June 2014

Bird research this week on PubMed: June 2014 Week 4

PubMed listing for 'bird' OR 'songbird' excluding references to influenza and flu - June 2014 Week 4

1. PLoS One. 2014 Jun 27;9(6):e100802. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100802. eCollection 2014.

Host Competence and Helicase Activity Differences Exhibited by West Nile Viral Variants Expressing NS3-249 Amino Acid Polymorphisms.

Langevin SA1, Bowen RA2, Reisen WK1, Andrade CC1, Ramey WN1, Maharaj PD1, Anishchenko M3, Kenney JL3, Duggal NK3, Romo H3, Bera AK4, Sanders TA5, Bosco-Lauth A6, Smith JL7, Kuhn R4, Brault AC8.Author information:
1Center for Vectorborne Diseases and Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California, United States of America.
2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America.
3Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America.
4Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.
5United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon, United States of America.
6Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America; Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America.
7Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.
8Center for Vectorborne Diseases and Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California, United States of America; Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America.


A single helicase amino acid substitution, NS3-T249P, has been shown to increase viremia magnitude/mortality in American crows (AMCRs) following West Nile virus (WNV) infection. Lineage/intra-lineage geographic variants exhibit consistent amino acid polymorphisms at this locus; however, the majority of WNV isolates associated with recent outbreaks reported worldwide have a proline at the NS3-249 residue. In order to evaluate the impact of NS3-249 variants on avian and mammalian virulence, multiple amino acid substitutions were engineered into a WNV infectious cDNA (NY99; NS3-249P) and the resulting viruses inoculated into AMCRs, house sparrows (HOSPs) and mice. Differential viremia profiles were observed between mutant viruses in the two bird species; however, the NS3-249P virus produced the highest mean peak viral loads in both avian models. In contrast, this avian modulating virulence determinant had no effect on LD50 or the neurovirulence phenotype in the murine model. Recombinant helicase proteins demonstrated variable helicase and ATPase activities; however, differences did not correlate with avian or murine viremia phenotypes. These in vitro and in vivo data indicate that avian-specific phenotypes are modulated by critical viral-host protein interactions involving the NS3-249 residue that directly influence transmission efficiency and therefore the magnitude of WNV epizootics in nature.
PMID: 24971589 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

2. Ecol Evol. 2014 May;4(9):1659-70. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1059. Epub 2014 Apr 8.

Estimating migratory connectivity of birds when re-encounter probabilities are heterogeneous.

Cohen EB1, Hostetler JA1, Royle JA2, Marra PP1.Author information:
1Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park Washington, District of Columbia.
2U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Laurel, Maryland.


Understanding the biology and conducting effective conservation of migratory species requires an understanding of migratory connectivity - the geographic linkages of populations between stages of the annual cycle. Unfortunately, for most species, we are lacking such information. The North American Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) houses an extensive database of marking, recaptures and recoveries, and such data could provide migratory connectivity information for many species. To date, however, few species have been analyzed for migratory connectivity largely because heterogeneous re-encounter probabilities make interpretation problematic. We accounted for regional variation in re-encounter probabilities by borrowing information across species and by using effort covariates on recapture and recovery probabilities in a multistate capture-recapture and recovery model. The effort covariates were derived from recaptures and recoveries of species within the same regions. We estimated the migratory connectivity for three tern species breeding in North America and over-wintering in the tropics, common (Sterna hirundo), roseate (Sterna dougallii), and Caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia). For western breeding terns, model-derived estimates of migratory connectivity differed considerably from those derived directly from the proportions of re-encounters. Conversely, for eastern breeding terns, estimates were merely refined by the inclusion of re-encounter probabilities. In general, eastern breeding terns were strongly connected to eastern South America, and western breeding terns were strongly linked to the more western parts of the nonbreeding range under both models. Through simulation, we found this approach is likely useful for many species in the BBL database, although precision improved with higher re-encounter probabilities and stronger migratory connectivity. We describe an approach to deal with the inherent biases in BBL banding and re-encounter data to demonstrate that this large dataset is a valuable source of information about the migratory connectivity of the birds of North America.
PMID: 24967083 [PubMed]
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3. Ecol Evol. 2014 May;4(9):1589-600. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1049. Epub 2014 Mar 31.

Power lines, roads, and avian nest survival: effects on predator identity and predation intensity.

DeGregorio BA1, Weatherhead PJ1, Sperry JH2.Author information:
1Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois 1102 S. Goodwin Ave, Urbana, Illinois, 61801.
2 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois 1102 S. Goodwin Ave, Urbana, Illinois, 61801 ; Engineer Research and Development Center Champaign, IL.


1 Anthropogenic alteration of landscapes can affect avian nest success by influencing the abundance, distribution, and behavior of predators. Understanding avian nest predation risk necessitates understanding how landscapes affect predator distribution and behavior. 2 From a sample of 463 nests of 17 songbird species, we evaluated how landscape features (distance to forest edge, unpaved roads, and power lines) influenced daily nest survival. We also used video cameras to identify nest predators at 137 nest predation events and evaluated how landscape features influenced predator identity. Finally, we determined the abundance and distribution of several of the principal predators using surveys and radiotelemetry. 3 Distance to power lines was the best predictor of predator identity: predation by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), corvids (Corvus sp. and Cyanocitta cristata), racers (Coluber constrictor), and coachwhips (Masticophis flagellum) increased with proximity to power lines, whereas predation by rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) and raptors decreased. In some cases, predator density may reliably indicate nest predation risk because racers, corvids, and cowbirds frequently used power line right-of-ways. 4 Of five bird species with enough nests to analyze individually, daily nest survival of only indigo buntings (Passerina cyanea) decreased with proximity to power lines, despite predation by most predators at our site being positively associated with power lines. For all nesting species combined, distance to unpaved road was the model that most influenced daily nest survival. This pattern is likely a consequence of rat snakes, the locally dominant nest predator (28% of predation events), rarely using power lines and associated areas. Instead, rat snakes were frequently associated with road edges, indicating that not all edges are functionally similar. 5 Our results suggest that interactions between predators and landscape features are likely to be specific to both the local predators and landscape. Thus, predicting how anthropogenic changes to landscapes affect nesting birds requires that we know more about how landscape changes affect the behavior of nest predators and which nest predators are locally important.
PMID: 24967077 [PubMed]
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4. Front Behav Neurosci. 2014 Jun 11;8:210. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00210. eCollection 2014.

Sexually dimorphic activation of dopaminergic areas depends on affiliation during courtship and pair formation.

Iwasaki M1, Poulsen TM2, Oka K3, Hessler NA2.Author information:
1RIKEN Brain Science Institute Wako-shi, Japan ; Department of Biology, Keio University Yokohama, Japan.
2RIKEN Brain Science Institute Wako-shi, Japan.
3Department of Biology, Keio University Yokohama, Japan.


For many species, dyadic interaction during courtship and pair bonding engage intense emotional states that control approach or avoidance behavior. Previous studies have shown that one component of a common social brain network (SBN), dopaminergic areas, are highly engaged during male songbird courtship of females. We tested whether the level of activity in dopaminergic systems of both females and males during courtship is related to their level of affiliation. In order to objectively quantify affiliative behaviors, we developed a system for tracking the position of both birds during free interaction sessions. During a third successive daily interaction session, there was a range of levels of affiliation among bird pairs, as quantified by several position and movement parameters. Because both positive and negative social interactions were present, we chose to characterize affiliation strength by pair valence. As a potential neural system involved in regulating pair valence, the level of activity of the dopaminergic group A11 (within the central gray) was selectively reduced in females of positive valence pairs. Further, activation of non-dopaminergic neurons in VTA was negatively related to valence, with this relationship strongest in ventral VTA of females. Together, these results suggest that inhibition of fear or avoidance networks may be associated with development of close affiliation, and highlight the importance of negative as well as positive emotional states in the process of courtship, and in development of long-lasting social bonds.
PMID: 24966819 [PubMed]
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5. Proc Biol Sci. 2014 Aug 7;281(1788). pii: 20140806. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0806.

Ancient origins and multiple appearances of carotenoid-pigmented feathers in birds.

Thomas DB1, McGraw KJ2, Butler MW3, Carrano MT4, Madden O5, James HF6.Author information:
1Department of Vertebrate Zoology, MRC-116, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Institution, Suitland, MD 20746, USA Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
2School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-4501, USA.
3Department of Biology, Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042-1778, USA.
4Department of Paleobiology, MRC-121, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA.
5Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Institution, Suitland, MD 20746, USA.
6Department of Vertebrate Zoology, MRC-116, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA.


The broad palette of feather colours displayed by birds serves diverse biological functions, including communication and camouflage. Fossil feathers provide evidence that some avian colours, like black and brown melanins, have existed for at least 160 million years (Myr), but no traces of bright carotenoid pigments in ancient feathers have been reported. Insight into the evolutionary history of plumage carotenoids may instead be gained from living species. We visually surveyed modern birds for carotenoid-consistent plumage colours (present in 2956 of 9993 species). We then used high-performance liquid chromatography and Raman spectroscopy to chemically assess the family-level distribution of plumage carotenoids, confirming their presence in 95 of 236 extant bird families (only 36 family-level occurrences had been confirmed previously). Using our data for all modern birds, we modelled the evolutionary history of carotenoid-consistent plumage colours on recent supertrees. Results support multiple independent origins of carotenoid plumage pigmentation in 13 orders, including six orders without previous reports of plumage carotenoids. Based on time calibrations from the supertree, the number of avian families displaying plumage carotenoids increased throughout the Cenozoic, and most plumage carotenoid originations occurred after the Miocene Epoch (23 Myr). The earliest origination of plumage carotenoids was reconstructed within Passeriformes, during the Palaeocene Epoch (66-56 Myr), and not at the base of crown-lineage birds.
© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24966316 [PubMed - in process]
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6. Proc Biol Sci. 2014 Aug 7;281(1788). pii: 20140765. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0765.

The developmental origin of zygodactyl feet and its possible loss in the evolution of Passeriformes.

Botelho JF1, Smith-Paredes D2, Nuñez-Leon D2, Soto-Acuña S3, Vargas AO2.Author information:
1Laboratorio de Ontogenia y Filogenia, Departamento de Biología, Universidad de Chile, Las Palmeras, 3425, Santiago, RM, Chile
2Laboratorio de Ontogenia y Filogenia, Departamento de Biología, Universidad de Chile, Las Palmeras, 3425, Santiago, RM, Chile.
3Laboratorio de Ontogenia y Filogenia, Departamento de Biología, Universidad de Chile, Las Palmeras, 3425, Santiago, RM, Chile Área de Paleontología, Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Santiago, RM, Chile.


The zygodactyl orientation of toes (digits II and III pointing forwards, digits I and IV pointing backwards) evolved independently in different extant bird taxa. To understand the origin of this trait in modern birds, we investigated the development of the zygodactyl foot of the budgerigar (Psittaciformes). We compared its muscular development with that of the anisodactyl quail (Galliformes) and show that while the musculus abductor digiti IV (ABDIV) becomes strongly developed at HH36 in both species, the musculus extensor brevis digiti IV (EBDIV) degenerates and almost disappears only in the budgerigar. The asymmetric action of those muscles early in the development of the budgerigar foot causes retroversion of digit IV (dIV). Paralysed budgerigar embryos do not revert dIV and are anisodactyl. Both molecular phylogenetic analysis and palaeontological information suggest that the ancestor of passerines could have been zygodactyl. We followed the development of the zebra finch (Passeriformes) foot muscles and found that in this species, both the primordia of the ABDIV and of the EBDIV fail to develop. These data suggest that loss of asymmetric forces of muscular activity exerted on dIV, caused by the absence of the ABDIV, could have resulted in secondary anisodactyly in Passeriformes.
© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24966313 [PubMed - in process]
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7. Neurotox Res. 2014 Jun 26. [Epub ahead of print]

DSP4, a Selective Neurotoxin for the Locus Coeruleus Noradrenergic System. A Review of Its Mode of Action.

Ross SB1, Stenfors C.Author information:
1AstraZeneca R&D, Södertälje, Sweden.


DSP4 (N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine hydrochloride) is a selective neurotoxin for the locus coeruleus noradrenergic system in the rodent and bird brain. It readily passes the blood-brain barrier and cyclizes to a reactive aziridinium derivative that is accumulated into the noradrenergic nerve terminals via the noradrenaline transporter. DSP4 is also an irreversible inhibitor of this transporter. Within the nerve terminals the aziridinium derivative reacts with unknown vital cellular components, destroying the terminals. At the dose 50 mg/kg i.p. this is characterized by a rapid and long-lasting loss of noradrenaline and a slower decrease in the dopamine-β-hydroxylase enzyme activity and immunoreactivity in the regions innervated from locus coeruleus. The tissue level of noradrenaline is reduced to 10-30 % of the normal value. The extraneuronal concentration is, on the other hand, increased due to inflow from non-lesioned regions. Like the peripheral sympathetic nerves the non-locus coeruleus noradrenergic systems in the rodent brain is resistant to the neurotoxic action of DSP4. Serotoninergic and dopaminergic nerves are only slightly or not at all affected by DSP4. The neurotoxic effect is counteracted by pretreatment with noradrenaline uptake inhibitors (e.g., desipramine). MAO-B inhibitors of the N-propargylamine type (e.g., selegiline) also counteract the DSP4-induced neurotoxicity with another, yet unknown mechanism. Because of its selectivity for the locus coeruleus system DSP4 is a useful tool in studies of the functional role of this noradrenergic system in the brain.
PMID: 24964753 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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