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Primary Structural Documentation of the Major Urinary Protein of the Indian Commensal Rat (Rattus rattus) Using a Proteomics Platform

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Purpose: A number of proteome studies have been performed recently to identify pheromone-related protein expression and their molecular function using genetically modified rodents' urine. However, no such studies have used Indian commensal rodents; interestingly, in a previous investigation, we confirmed the presence of volatile molecules in commensal rodents urine and these molecules seem to be actively involved in pheromonal communication. Therefore, the present study aims to identify the major urinary protein [MUP] present in commensal rat urine, which will help us to understand the protein's expression pattern and intrinsic properties among the rodents globally.

Experimental Design: Initially, the total urinary proteins were separated by 1-D and 2-D electrophoresis and then subsequently analyzed by Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight and Mass Spectrometer (MALDITOF/ MS). Furthermore, they were then fragmented with the aid of a Tandem Mass Spectrometer (TOF/TOF) and the identified sequences aligned and confirmed using similarity with the deduced primary structures of members of the lipocalin superfamily.

Results: The SDS-PAGE protein profiles showed distinct proteins with molecular masses of 15, 22.4, 25, 28, 42, 50, 55, 68, and 91 kDa. Of these proteins, the 22.4 kDa protein was considered to be target candidate. When 2D electrophoresis was carried out, about ~50 spots were detected with different masses and various pI ranges. The 22.4 kDa protein was found to have a pI of about 4.9. This 22.4 kDa protein spot was digested and subjected to mass spectrometry; it was identified as rat MUP. The fragmented peptides from the rat MUP at 935, 1026, 1192, and 1303 m/z were further fragmented with the aid of MS/MS and generated de novo sequence and this confirmed this protein to be the MUP present in the urine of commensal rats.

Conclusion: The present investigation confirms the presence of MUP with a molecular mass of 22.4 kDa in the urine of commensal rats. This protein may be involved in the binding of volatile molecules and opens up a discussion about how volatile and non-volatile molecules in the commensal rats' urine may contribute chemo-communic
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Keywords: Mass-spectrometer; commensal rat; pheromone-binding protein; volatile molecules

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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