Seasonal Reproduction in Vertebrates: Melatonin Synthesis, Binding, and Functionality Using Tinbergen's Four Questions

Molecules. 2018 Mar 13;23(3):652. doi: 10.3390/molecules23030652.


One of the many functions of melatonin in vertebrates is seasonal reproductive timing. Longer nights in winter correspond to an extended duration of melatonin secretion. The purpose of this review is to discuss melatonin synthesis, receptor subtypes, and function in the context of seasonality across vertebrates. We conclude with Tinbergen's Four Questions to create a comparative framework for future melatonin research in the context of seasonal reproduction.

Keywords: melatonin; seasonal reproduction; vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Light Signal Transduction
  • Melatonin / biosynthesis*
  • Melatonin / chemistry
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Reproduction
  • Seasons
  • Vertebrates / physiology*


  • Receptors, Melatonin
  • Melatonin