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Integration of gene regulatory networks in understanding animal behavior


Neuronal network (NN)–gene regulatory network (GRN) interactions. Spatial dimensions (Bottom): Different cells (neurons), connected by the NN, may exhibit different GRN activities, even though the GRN itself is unchanged. GRN includes activating (green arrow) and repressive (red hammer) relationships between genes (circles). Gene expression is indicated by black or gray border, representing high and low expression, respectively. Signals carried by NN may influence gene expression in a cell (arrow labeled “Neural Signaling”), and activity of the GRN in one cell may influence gene expression in another cell, for instance via neuroendocrine signaling. Temporal dimensions (Top Right, thicker arrows indicate faster interactions): Fast (millisecond-to-second scale) message transmission by the NN (“Neural firing”) can induce, via neural signaling, the activity of immediate early genes (IEGs) associated with behavior, setting off a cascade of slower transcriptional and epigenetic changes mediated by a behavioral GRN (bGRN) on the scale of seconds to days. These changes may feed back to the NN if levels of neuroreceptors or neurotransmitters are affected. In some cases, bGRN-mediated changes can lead to developmental changes, mediated by dGRNs, on a slow timescale of days, months, or even across generations. These slow developmental changes may affect brain morphology and cause […]

read more here —> phys.org

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