Proteomics of Galápagos Marine Iguanas Links Function of Femoral Gland Proteins to the Immune System

Frederik Tellkamp, Franziska Lang, Alejandro Ibáñez, Lena Abraham, Galo Quezada, Stefan Günther, Mario Looso, Fabian Jannik Tann, Daniela Müller, Franz Cemic, Jürgen Hemberger, Sebastian Steinfartz, Marcus Krüger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Communication between individuals via molecules, termed chemosignaling, is widespread among animal and plant species. However, we lack knowledge on the specific functions of the substances involved for most systems. The femoral gland is an organ that secretes a waxy substance involved in chemical communication in lizards. Although the lipids and volatile substances secreted by the femoral glands have been investigated in several biochemical studies, the protein composition and functions of secretions remain completely unknown. Applying a proteomic approach, we provide the first attempt to comprehensively characterize the protein composition of femoral gland secretions from the Galápagos marine iguana. Using samples from several organs, the marine iguana proteome was assembled by next-generation sequencing and MS, resulting in 7513 proteins. Of these, 4305 proteins were present in the femoral gland, including keratins, small serum proteins, and fatty acid-binding proteins. Surprisingly, no proteins with discernible roles in partner recognition or inter-species communication could be identified. However, we did find several proteins with direct associations to the innate immune system, including lysozyme C, antileukoproteinase (ALP), pulmonary surfactant protein (SFTPD), and galectin (LGALS1) suggesting that the femoral glands function as an important barrier to infection. Furthermore, we report several novel anti-microbial peptides from the femoral glands that show similar action against Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis such as oncocin, a peptide known for its effectiveness against Gram-negative pathogens. This proteomics data set is a valuable resource for future functional protein analysis and demonstrates that femoral gland secretions also perform functions of the innate immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1532
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Volume19
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

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