FoxP2 in songbirds

Sandra Wohlgemuth, Iris Adam, Constance Scharff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Humans with mutations in the transcription factor FOXP2 display a severe speech disorder. Songbirds are a powerful model system to study FoxP2. Like humans, songbirds communicate via vocalizations that are imitatively learned during critical periods and this learning is influenced by social factors and relies on functionally lateralized neural circuits. During the past five years significant progress has been made moving from a descriptive to a more mechanistic understanding of how FoxP2 functions in songbirds. Current evidence from molecular and electrophysiological studies indicates that FoxP2 is important for shaping synaptic plasticity of specific neuron populations. One future goal will be to identify the transcriptional regulation orchestrated by FoxP2 and its associated molecular network that brings about these physiological effects. This will be key to further unravel how FoxP2 influences synaptic function and thereby contributes to auditory guided vocal motor behavior in the songbird model.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Pages (from-to)86-93
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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