First identification of tannin-binding proteins in saliva of Papio hamadryas using MS/MS mass spectrometry

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Abstract

Hamadryas baboons possess salivary proline-rich proteins (PRP), as indicated by the presence of pink-staining protein bands using 1D SDS gel electrophoresis and Coomassie R250 staining. The ability of these protein bands to interact with tannic acid was further examined. In a tannin-binding assay using 5 µg tannic acid mixed with hamadryas whole saliva, we recently found four distinct protein bands of apparently 72, 55, 20, and 15 kDa that were precipitated during the experiments. In this work, we were able to identify these protein bands in a follow-up analysis using MS/MS mass spectrometry after excising such bands out of air-dried gels. Albumin and α-amylase were present in the tannic acid–protein complexes, with albumin already known to nonspecifically interact with a great diversity of chemical compounds. More interesting, we also identified a basic PRP and a cystatin precursor protein. This was the first successful attempt to identify a PRP from precipitated tannin–protein complexes in hamadryas baboons using MS/MS mass spectrometry. On the other hand, the role of cystatins in tannin binding is not yet well understood. However, there are recent reports on cystatin expression in saliva of rats responding to astringent dietary compounds. In conclusion, the follow-up data on tannin-binding proteins present in salivary secretions from hamadryas baboons adds important knowledge to primate physiology and feeding ecology, in order to shed light on the establishment and development of food adaptations in primates. It also demonstrates that tannin binding is characteristic for PRP, but might not be restricted to this particular group of proteins in primate species. Am. J. Primatol. 73:896–902, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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