In birds, seasonal reproduction is regulated by day length, with long days in the spring activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and reproductive behaviors. The photoreceptors mediating this process remain unknown, but recently, the premammillary nucleus (PMM) of the hypothalamus has been implicated as the site of photoperiodic signaling in turkeys. We performed electrolytic lesions of the PMM to elucidate its role in the photoactivation and maintenance of egg production in female turkeys. Our results show that ablation of the PMM does not alter the normal lay cycle. No differences were found between lesioned birds and sham controls in the latency to lay following photostimulation, nor in subsequent egg production over a period of 29 weeks. No differences in the incidence of gonadal regression were found, indicating that the PMM is not essential for the termination of breeding. We conclude that any role of the PMM in photoperiodic regulation, if it exists, is redundant with other components of the system.
Moore, A. F., Cassone, V. M., Alloway, K. D., & Bartell, P. A. (2018). The premammillary nucleus of the hypothalamus is not necessary for photoperiodic timekeeping in female turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo). PLoS ONE, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190274