Data from: Altered expression of pectoral myosin heavy chain isoforms corresponds to migration status in the white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii)
Velten, Brandy P.; Welch, Kenneth C.; Ramenofsky, Marilyn (2016), Data from: Altered expression of pectoral myosin heavy chain isoforms corresponds to migration status in the white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t92g5
Birds undergo numerous changes as they progress through life-history stages, yet relatively few studies have examined how birds adapt to both the dynamic energetic and mechanical demands associated with such transitions. Myosin heavy chain (MyHC) expression, often linked with muscle fibre type, is strongly correlated with a muscle's mechanical power-generating capability, thus we examined several morphological properties, including MyHC expression of the pectoralis, in a long-distance migrant, the white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) throughout the progression from winter, spring departure and arrival on breeding grounds. White-crowned sparrows demonstrated significant phenotypic flexibility throughout the seasonal transition, including changes in prealternate moult status, lipid fuelling, body condition and flight muscle morphology. Pectoral MyHC expression also varied significantly over the course of the study. Wintering birds expressed a single, newly classified adult fast 2 isoform. At spring departure, pectoral isoform expression included two MyHC isoforms: the adult fast 2 isoform along with a smaller proportion of a newly present adult fast 1 isoform. By spring arrival, both adult fast isoforms present at departure remained, yet expression had shifted to a greater relative proportion of the adult fast 1 isoform. Altering pectoral MyHC isoform expression in preparation for and during spring migration may represent an adaptation to modulate muscle mechanical output to support long-distance flight.