3 years ago

Functional New World monkey oxytocin forms elicit an altered signaling profile and promotes parental care in rats [Anthropology]

Functional New World monkey oxytocin forms elicit an altered signaling profile and promotes parental care in rats [Anthropology]
Pedro Vargas–Pinilla, Lucas T. Parreiras–e–Silva, Michel Bouvier, Vanessa Rodrigues Paixao–Cortes, Gislene L. Goncalves, Francisco M. Salzano, Aldo B. Lucion, Diego L. Rovaris, Danae Longo, Diego A. Duarte, Claudio M. Costa–Neto, Andrea Dulor Finkler, Rafael Andrade Caceres, Grace Violeta Espinoza Pardo, Maria Catira Bortolini, Eduardo B. Oliveira, Pamela Pare

The neurohormone oxytocin is a key player in the modulation of reproductive and social behavioral traits, such as parental care. Recently, a correlation between different forms of oxytocin and behavioral phenotypes has been described in the New World Monkeys (NWMs). Here, we demonstrate that, compared with the Leu8OXT found in most placental mammals, the Cebidae Pro8OXT and Saguinus Val3Pro8OXT taxon-specific variants act as equi-efficacious agonists for the Gq-dependent pathway but are weaker agonists for the β-arrestin engagement and subsequent endocytosis toward the oxytocin receptor (OXTR). Upon interaction with the AVPR1a, Pro8OXT and the common Leu8OXT yielded similar signaling profiles, being equally efficacious on Gq and β-arrestin, while Val3Pro8OXT showed reduced relative efficacy toward β-arrestin. Intranasal treatment with either of the variants increased maternal behavior and also promoted unusual paternal care in rats, as measured by pup-retrieval tests. We therefore suggest that Val3Pro8OXT and Pro8OXT are functional variants, which might have been evolutionarily co-opted as an essential part of the adaptive genetic repertoire that allowed the emergence of taxon-specific complex social behaviors, such as intense parental care in the Cebidae and the genus Saguinus.

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