Neuro-molecular characterization of fish cleaning interactions

Ramirez-Calero, Sandra, Paula, Jose Ricardo, Otjacques, Eve, Rosa, Rui, Ravasi, Timothy, and Schunter, Celia (2022) Neuro-molecular characterization of fish cleaning interactions. Scientific Reports, 12. 8468.

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Coral reef fish exhibit a large variety of behaviours crucial for fitness and survival. The cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus displays cognitive abilities during interspecific interactions by providing services of ectoparasite cleaning, thus serving as a good example to understand the processes of complex social behaviour. However, little is known about the molecular underpinnings of cooperative behaviour between L. dimidiatus and a potential client fish (Acanthurus leucosternon). Therefore, we investigated the molecular mechanisms in three regions of the brain (Fore-, Mid-, and Hindbrain) during the interaction of these fishes. Here we show, using transcriptomics, that most of the transcriptional response in both species was regulated in the Hindbrain and Forebrain regions and that the interacting behaviour responses of L. dimidiatus involved immediate early gene alteration, dopaminergic and glutamatergic pathways, the expression of neurohormones (such as isotocin) and steroids (e.g. progesterone and estrogen). In contrast, in the client, fewer molecular alterations were found, mostly involving pituitary hormone responses. The particular pathways found suggested synaptic plasticity, learning and memory processes in the cleaner wrasse, while the client indicated stress relief.

Item ID: 74883
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2022 09:06
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3101 Biochemistry and cell biology > 310104 Cell neurochemistry @ 60%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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