Studies of animal communication systems have revealed that the perception of a salient signal can cause large-scale changes in brain gene expression, but little is known about how communication affects the neurogenomic state of the sender. We explored this issue by studying honey bees that produce a vibratory modulatory signal. We chose this system because it represents an extreme case of animal communication; some bees perform this behavior intensively, effectively acting as communication specialists. We show large differences in patterns of brain gene expression between individuals producing vibratory signal as compared with carefully matched non-senders. Some of the differentially regulated genes have previously been implicated in the performance of other motor activities, including courtship behavior in Drosophila melanogaster and Parkinson's Disease in humans. Our results demonstrate for the first time a neurogenomic brain state associated with sending a communication signal and provide suggestive glimpses of molecular roots for motor control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere6694
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 20 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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