Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

For bats and dolphins, hearing gene prestin adapted for echolocation

Date:
August 1, 2014
Source:
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)
Summary:
A little over a decade ago, prestin was found to be a key gene responsible for hearing in mammals. A new study has shown that prestin has also independently evolved to play a critical role in the ultrasonic hearing range of animal sonar, or echolocation, to help dolphins navigate through murky waters or bats find food in the dark.

A little over a decade ago, prestin was found to be a key gene responsible for hearing in mammals. Prestin makes a protein found in the hair cells of the inner ear that contracts and expands rapidly to transmit signals that help the cochlea, like an antique phonograph horn, amplify sound waves to make hearing more sensitivity.

Related Articles


Now, in a new study published in the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, Peng Shi, et al., have shown that prestin has also independently evolved to play a critical role in the ultrasonic hearing range of animal sonar, or echolocation, to help dolphins navigate through murky waters or bats find food in the dark.

Although both toothed whales and echolocating bats can emit high frequency echolocation calls, which show a substantial diversity in terms of their shape, duration, and amplitude, they receive and analyze the echoes returned from objects by their high-frequency hearing. The research team finely dissected the function of the prestin protein from 2 sonar guided bats and the bottlenose dolphin compared with non-sonar mammals.

Evolutionary analyses of the prestin protein sequences showed that a single amino acid change in prestin, from a threonine (Thr or T) in all sonar mammals to an asparagine (Asn or N) in all non-sonar mammals, was subject to parallel evolution, suggesting that it may play a critical role for mammalian echolocation. Further experiments supported this assumption and identified 4 key amino acid differences amongst the sonar mammals, which may contribute to their unique features . Taken along side evolutionary analyses, these findings offered the first functional evidence supporting the notion that the hearing gene of prestin evolved to play a key role in the sonar system of mammals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Z. Liu, F.-Y. Qi, X. Zhou, H.-Q. Ren, P. Shi. Parallel Sites Implicate Functional Convergence of the Hearing Gene Prestin among Echolocating Mammals. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msu194

Cite This Page:

Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). "For bats and dolphins, hearing gene prestin adapted for echolocation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140801091228.htm>.
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). (2014, August 1). For bats and dolphins, hearing gene prestin adapted for echolocation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140801091228.htm
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). "For bats and dolphins, hearing gene prestin adapted for echolocation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140801091228.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins