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Role of FoxP2 in proliferation and neurogenesis in the ventricular zone of zebra finches, an area delivering newly born neurons to the song nuclei Area X

Steffen Schulz, Diplomand

So far it is known that FoxP2, a member of the forkhead box transcription factors, is involved in learning and acquisition of speech and song in humans and songbirds like zebra finches, respectively [1]. It is, amongst others, expressed in two song nuclei, HVC in the pallium and Area X in the striatum of the male zebra finch, whereto newly born neurons of the subventricular zone migrate during the sensorimotory learning phase [2]. This neurogenesis persists also in adult males, when the song is already crystallized [3]. To test if the FoxP2 gene may have a main function in regulating neurogenesis and in predefining the morphologic structures of the newly born neurons, knock-down experiments in the subventricular zone will be performed and potential changes in the total amount and in the structure of new cells analysed.

[1] Teramitsu I, Kudo LC, London SE, Geschwind DH, White SA: Parallel FoxP1 and FoxP2 expression in songbird and human brain predicts functional interaction. J Neurosci 2004, 24:3152-3163. [2] Nordeen K W, Nordeen E J: Projection neurons within a vocal motor pathway are born during song learning in zebra finches. Nature. 1988 Jul 14;334(6178):149-51. [3] Alvarez-Buylla A.: Neurogenesis and plasticity in the CNS of adult birds. Exp. Neurol. 1992 Jan;115(1):110-4.