Temperature affects liver and muscle metabolism in photostimulated migratory redheaded buntings (Emberiza bruniceps)

  • Sayantan Sur
  • Aakansha Sharma
  • Amit Kumar Trivedi
  • Sanjay Kumar Bhardwaj
  • Vinod KumarEmail author
Original Paper


We investigated the transcriptional effects of temperature on metabolism in the liver and flight muscle prior to the onset of spring migration in redheaded buntings. We measured changes in body mass, cellular lipid accumulation, and transcription of metabolic genes in the liver and flight muscle, during a week of exposure to 8-h short photoperiod (SP; 8L: 16D) and 13-h-long photoperiod (LP; 13L: 11D) at 22 °C to ascertain the responsiveness to LP, and during 2.5 weeks of LP at 22 and 38 °C to examine the effect of temperature on LP-induced metabolic response. Particularly, we measured mRNA expression of genes involved in the fatty acids and triglycerides biosynthesis (srebf1, elovl6, scd, fads2, and dgat2), glucose and lipid metabolism (sirt1, foxo1, ppara, pparg, hdac3, and hmgcr) in the liver, and fatty acid transport (cd36 and fabp3) and metabolism (myod1) in the flight muscle. Birds gained weight and had elevated lipid accumulation at 22 °C but not at 38 °C in the liver and muscle tissues. We also found significant differences in gene expression patterns during 2.5 weeks of LP exposure. For instance, as compared to week 1, there were decreased elovl6, dgat2, and srebf1 and increased foxo1 mRNA levels in the liver, and decreased cd36 and fabp3 mRNA levels in the muscle at 38 °C after 2.5 weeks of LP. It is suggested that a drastic change in temperature could alter the molecular metabolism in the liver and skeletal muscle with photoperiod-induced transition in the seasonal state in migratory songbirds.


Bunting Liver Metabolism Migration Muscle Temperature 



The experimental facility used for the experiment was built with the support from the Science and Engineering Research Board, New Delhi under IRHPA grant to VK. Dr. Neelu Jain Gupta provided animal resource for the initial experiment from which the tissue samples were harvested. This work was supported by the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi through a research grant (BT/PR4984/MED/30/752/2012) to VK. SS and AS received Junior Research Fellowships from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported in this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyCCS UniversityMeerutIndia
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyMizoram UniversityAizawlIndia

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