PhD, 1979, Florida State University
Protein and glycoprotein biochemistry; salamander pheromones
Drs. Rick and Pamela Feldhoff collaborate with Drs. Lynne Houck and Stevan Arnold at Oregon State University on the effects of courtship pheromones on reproductive behavior in Plethodontid salamanders. During courtship, a male Plethodon shermani salamander delivers pheromones from a submandibular mental gland to the female’s nares. Following binding of pheromones to receptors in the vomeronasal organ, female receptivity increases. The pheromone mixture consists of two major families, each of which contains multiple isoforms. The 22 kDa family (Plethodontid Receptivity Factor; PRF) is related to the IL-6 family of cytokines, while the 7 kDa family (Plethodontid Modulating Factor; PMF) is related to xenoxins and snake cytotoxins. Efforts at Oregon State focus on the behavioral biology aspects of the project. Current research efforts in our lab, utilizing contemporary techniques in protein biochemistry, molecular biology and mass spectral analyses, are focused on the purification and characterization of the PMF isoforms, including the determination of the complex disulfide bonding pattern. Pheromone studies are also being extended to the more primitive species, Desmognathus ocoee.
Wilburn DB, Bowen KE, Doty KA, Arumugam S, Lane AN, Feldhoff PW and Feldhoff RC (2014) Sexual selection drives a novel disulfide bond pattern in a three-finger protein pheromone. PLoS ONE 01/2014 9(5): e96975.
Wilburn DB, Bowen KE, Gregg RG, Cai J, Feldhoff PW, Houck LD and Feldhoff RC (2012) Proteomic and UTR analyses of a rapidly evolving hypervariable family of vertebrate pheromones Evolution 66-7: 2227-2239.
Wirsig-Wiechmann CR, ColvardJ, Aston C, DigheR, HouckLD, FeldhoffPW and FeldhoffRC (2012). Gonadotropin-releasing hormone modulates vomeronasal neuron response to male salamander pheromone.J Experimental Neuroscience 6: 1-10.
Aly H, Khashaba MT, Nada A, Hasanen BM, McCarter R, Schultz SJ, Gordon, L, Feldhoff PW and Lassiter HA.(2009) The role of complement in neurodevelopmental impairment following neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Am. J. Perinatol. 2009 Oct;26(9):659-65.
Schubert SN, Wack CL, Houck LD, Feldhoff PW, Feldhoff RC, Woodley SK. (2009) Exposure to pheromones increases plasma corticosterone concentration in a terrestrial salamander. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2009 Apr;161(2):271-5.
Schubert SN, Houck LD, Feldhoff PW, Feldhoff RC and Woodley SK. (2008) The effects of sex on chemosensory communication in a terrestrial salamander (Plethodonshermani). Hormones and Behavior 54:270-277.
Houck L, Watts R, Arnold S, Bowen K, Kiemnex K, Godwin H, Feldhoff P and Feldhoff R. (2008) A recombinant courtship pheromone affects sexual receptivity in a plethodontid salamander. Chemical Senses 33:623-631.
Laberge F, Feldhoff RC, Feldhoff PW and Houck LD. (2008) Courtship pheromone-induced c-Fos expression in the female salamander brain. Neuroscience 151 (2): 329-339.
Palmer CA, Hollis DM, Watts RA, Houck LD, McCall MA, Gregg RG, Feldhoff PW, Feldhoff RC and Arnold SJ. (2007) Plethodontid Modulating Factor (PMF), a hypervariable salamander courtship pheromone in the three-finger protein superfamily. FEBS Journal 274 (9):2300-2310.
Houck LD, Palmer CA, Watts RA, Arnold SJ, Feldhoff PW and Feldhoff RC. (2007) A new vertebrate courtship pheromone, PMF, affects female receptivity in a terrestrial salamander. Animal Behavior 73:315-320.
Schubert SN, Houck LD, Feldhoff PW, Feldhoff RC and Woodley SK. (2006) Effects of androgens on behavioral and vomeronasal responses to chemosensory cues in male terrestrial salamanders (Plethodon shermani). Hormones and Behavior 50(3):469-476.