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A qualitative investigation of major urinary proteins in relation to the onset of aggressive behavior and dispersive motivation in male wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus)


Rusu, A S; Krackow, S; Jedelsky, P L; Stopka, P; König, B (2008). A qualitative investigation of major urinary proteins in relation to the onset of aggressive behavior and dispersive motivation in male wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus). Journal of Ethology, 26(1):127-135.

Abstract

The physiological basis for population differentiation of dispersal timing during individual development in male wild house mice is still unknown. As major urinary proteins (MUPs) are known to convey information about competitive ability in male mice, we examined individual MUP profiles defined by isoelectric-focusing (IEF) patterns in relation to developmental timing of dispersive motivation. As an experimental paradigm marking the development of the dispersal propensity, we used agonistic onset between litter mate brothers when kept in pairs under laboratory conditions. Agonistic onset is known to reflect the initiation of dispersive motivation. Hence, we compared individual MUP IEF patterns between fraternal pairs that did or did not develop agonistic relationships before the age of 2 months. Urine was collected on the day of weaning and at the beginning of adulthood. We investigated whether there was a significant co-occurrence of particular MUP IEF patterns with the agonistic onset in male mice. We assumed that, based on this co-occurrence, particular MUP IEF patterns and/or a particular dynamic of MUP IEF expression from weaning to adulthood may be considered a physiological predictor of a specific behavioral strategy in male mice (i.e. submissive-philopatric or agonistic-dispersive strategy). We found that agonistic males expressed more MUP IEF bands than amicable ones at weaning, but these differences disappeared later on. The presence of two particular IEF bands at weaning was significantly associated with early agonistic onset. Our study suggests that MUPs could have a predictive value for the onset of aggressive behavior and dispersal tendency in male wild house mice.

The physiological basis for population differentiation of dispersal timing during individual development in male wild house mice is still unknown. As major urinary proteins (MUPs) are known to convey information about competitive ability in male mice, we examined individual MUP profiles defined by isoelectric-focusing (IEF) patterns in relation to developmental timing of dispersive motivation. As an experimental paradigm marking the development of the dispersal propensity, we used agonistic onset between litter mate brothers when kept in pairs under laboratory conditions. Agonistic onset is known to reflect the initiation of dispersive motivation. Hence, we compared individual MUP IEF patterns between fraternal pairs that did or did not develop agonistic relationships before the age of 2 months. Urine was collected on the day of weaning and at the beginning of adulthood. We investigated whether there was a significant co-occurrence of particular MUP IEF patterns with the agonistic onset in male mice. We assumed that, based on this co-occurrence, particular MUP IEF patterns and/or a particular dynamic of MUP IEF expression from weaning to adulthood may be considered a physiological predictor of a specific behavioral strategy in male mice (i.e. submissive-philopatric or agonistic-dispersive strategy). We found that agonistic males expressed more MUP IEF bands than amicable ones at weaning, but these differences disappeared later on. The presence of two particular IEF bands at weaning was significantly associated with early agonistic onset. Our study suggests that MUPs could have a predictive value for the onset of aggressive behavior and dispersal tendency in male wild house mice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Dispersal propensity; Chemical signals; Aggressive behavior; Wild house mice
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:28 Mar 2008 15:05
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:22
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0289-0771
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s10164-007-0042-3
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2311

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