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Hearing and Vocalizations in the Naked Mole-Rat

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The Extraordinary Biology of the Naked Mole-Rat

Part of the book series: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology ((AEMB,volume 1319))

Abstract

Since their discovery, naked mole-rats have been speaking to us. Early field studies noted their extensive vocalizations, and scientists who are fortunate enough to spend time with these creatures in the laboratory setting cannot help but notice their constant peeping, chirruping and grunting (Hill et al., Proc Zool Soc Lond 128:455–514, 1957). Yet, few dwell on the function of these chirps and peeps, being instead drawn to the many other extraordinary aspects of naked mole-rat physiology detailed throughout this book. Still, no biology is complete without a description of how an organism communicates. While the field of naked mole-rat bioacoustics and acoustic communication has been largely silent for many years, we highlight recent progress in understanding how and what Heterocephalus glaber hears and which vocalizations it uses. These efforts are essential for a complete understanding of naked mole-rat cooperation, society and even culture.

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Photo Credit: Thomas Park

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Abbreviations

ABR:

auditory brainstem response

AC:

auditory cortex

AVCN:

anterior ventral cochlear nucleus

BK channel:

big potassium channel

CN:

cochlear nucleus

DCN:

dorsal cochlear nucleus

DNLL:

dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus

GluR:

glutamate receptor

GlyT2:

glycine transporter 2

HCN1:

Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel 1

HM:

head of malleus

IC:

inferior colliculus

IHC:

inner hair cells

KV1.1:

Potassium voltage-gated channel subfamily A member 1

LPI:

long process of the incus

LSO:

lateral superior olive

MGN:

medial geniculate nucleus

MM:

manubrium of malleus

MNTB:

medial nucleus of the trapezoid body

mPFC:

medial prefrontal cortex

MSO:

medial superior olive

Na,K-ATPase α3:

sodium/potassium-ATPase (Na+/K+-ATPase)

OHC:

outer hair cells

PVCN:

posterior ventral cochlear nucleus

SGN:

spiral ganglion neurons

SOC:

superior olivary complex

SPI:

short process of the incus

TM:

tympanic membrane

TT:

tensor tympani tendon

VCN:

ventral cochlear nucleus

vGluT1:

vesicular glutamate transporter 1

VNLL:

ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus

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Acknowledgements

The work in the authors‘ laboratories has been supported by the following agencies: the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) and the Heinsius-Houbolt Foundation to SJP and ERC advanced grants to GRL (AdG 789128 and AdG 294678).

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Correspondence to Sonja J. Pyott .

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Glossary

Fundamental frequency

lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. This is usually the lowest frequency in a harmonic sound.

Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide gated (HCN) 1 channels

HCN channels are a family of voltage-gated ion channels that open upon hyperpolarization and are modulated by cAMP inside the neuron. They are permeable for Na+-ions and to a lesser extent to K+-ion and are thus depolarizing and can induce pacemaker activity. Among the four isoforms the HCN1 channels are t activated at the most depolarized voltage (around -45 mV) and have the fastest activation time constants.

Kv1 channels

Kv1 channels are a family of voltage-gated ion channels that are permeable for K+-ions and thus hyperpolarizing. Compared to other voltage-gated K+-channels they are activated at more hyperpolarized voltages, closer to the membrane resting potential.

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Barker, A.J., Koch, U., Lewin, G.R., Pyott, S.J. (2021). Hearing and Vocalizations in the Naked Mole-Rat. In: Buffenstein, R., Park, T.J., Holmes, M.M. (eds) The Extraordinary Biology of the Naked Mole-Rat. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 1319. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-65943-1_6

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