Steroid receptor coactivator 2 modulates steroid-dependent male sexual behavior and neuroplasticity in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica)

Neville Andrew Niessen, Jacques Balthazart, Gregory F. Ball, Thierry D. Charlier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Steroid receptor coactivators are necessary for efficient transcriptional regulation by ligand-bound nuclear receptors, including estrogen and androgen receptors. Steroid receptor coactivator-2 (SRC-2) modulates estrogen- and progesterone-dependent sexual behavior in female rats but its implication in the control of male sexual behavior has not been studied to our knowledge. We cloned and sequenced the complete quail SRC-2 transcript and showed by semi-quantitative PCR that SRC-2 expression is nearly ubiquitous, with high levels of expression in the kidney, cerebellum and diencephalon. Real-time quantitative PCR did not reveal any differences between intact males and females the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), optic lobes and cerebellum. We next investigated the physiological and behavioral role of this coactivator using in vivo antisense oligonucleotide techniques. Daily injections in the third ventricle at the level of the POM of locked nucleic acid antisense targeting SRC-2 significantly reduced the expression of testosterone-dependent male-typical copulatory behavior but no inhibition of one aspect of the appetitive sexual behavior was observed. The volume of POM, defined by aromatase-immunoreactive cells, was markedly decreased in animals treated with antisense as compared with controls. These results demonstrate that SRC-2 plays a prominent role in the control of steroid-dependent male sexual behavior and its associated neuroplasticity in Japanese quail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-593
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • androgen
  • aromatase
  • estrogen
  • medial preoptic nucleus
  • steroid receptor
  • vasotocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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