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Gen Comp Endocrinol January 1, 2019; 282 113214.

Neuroendocrine modulation of predator avoidance/prey capture tradeoffs: Role of tectal NPY2R receptors.

Islam R , Prater CM , Harris BN , Carr JA .

The optic tectum rapidly inhibits food intake when a visual threat is present. Anatomical and electrophysiological evidence support a role for neuropeptide Y (NPY), originating from cells in the thalamus, in the tectal inhibition of prey capture. Here we test the hypothesis that tectal NPY receptor type 2 (NPY2R) influences prey-capture and predator-avoidance responses in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. We tested two questions: 1) Does tectal NPY administration decrease food intake and alter prey-capture behavior? 2) Does tectal administration of a NPY2R antagonist increase food intake, alter prey-capture behavior, and alter predator avoidance behavior? NPY microinjected bilaterally into the tecta failed to significantly alter food intake at any dose tested, although predator presence significantly reduced food intake. However, NPY differentially altered discrete components of prey capture including increasing the latency to contact food and reducing the amount of time in contact with food. These effects were blocked by the NPY2R antagonist BIIE0246. Additionally, BIIE0246 elevated food intake on its own after bilateral tectal microinjection. Furthermore, BIIE0246 reversed the reduction of food intake caused by exposure to a predator. Overall, these findings indicate that tectal NPY2R activation causes frogs to consume food more quickly, which may be adaptive in predator-rich environments. Blocking tectal NPY2R increases baseline food intake and reduces or eliminates predator-induced changes in prey capture and food intake.

PubMed ID: 31271760
Article link: Gen Comp Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: npy pigy tecta.2