Abstract # 2223:

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Proteomic analysis of ringtailed lemur scent gland secretions: Glandular- and individual-specific protein profiles

S. G. Kwatra and C. M. Drea
Duke University, Department of Biological Anthropology & Anatomy, Box 90383, Durham, NC 27708-0383, USA
     Our understanding of chemical communication among ringtailed lemurs (Lemur catta) implicates a major role for small volatile molecules, but whether nonvolatile molecules are also involved is unknown. Because the volatile profiles of scent secretions show glandular and individual specificity, we hypothesized that nonvolatile molecules, specifically proteins, would occur in lemur scent secretions and, likewise, would reflect glandular and individual ‘signatures’. Using sterile cotton swabs, we collected secretions from the antebrachial, brachial, and scrotal glands of 11 males and the labial gland of 7 females, between September 2003 and November 2006, during both the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. We stored the samples at -80°C until analysis of protein expression. We dissolved the secretions in 20mM Tris, 2 mM EDTA pH 7.4, subjected them to 1D SDS-PAGE, stained the gels with coomassie blue, and scanned the gels using a densitometer. The secretions from the four scent glands contained numerous proteins, showing distinct proteinaceous profiles for each gland of origin. For every type of glandular secretion, the intensity and presence/absence of protein bands varied between individuals. Current SELDI-TOF analysis will further qualify and quantify these individual differences and aid in protein identification. The presence of proteins in various scent glands of the ringtailed lemur suggests that proteins may play a role in chemical communication, either independently or by interacting with volatile molecules. Funded by NSF BCS-0409367.