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Monotreme lactation protein is highly expressed in monotreme milk and provides antimicrobial protection

Enjapoori,AK, Grant,TR, Nicol,SC, Lefèvre,CM, Nicholas,KR and Sharp,JA 2014, Monotreme lactation protein is highly expressed in monotreme milk and provides antimicrobial protection, Genome biology and evolution, vol. 6, no. 10, pp. 2754-2773, doi: 10.1093/gbe/evu209.

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Title Monotreme lactation protein is highly expressed in monotreme milk and provides antimicrobial protection
Author(s) Enjapoori,AK
Sharp,JAORCID iD for Sharp,JA
Journal name Genome biology and evolution
Volume number 6
Issue number 10
Start page 2754
End page 2773
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2014-10
ISSN 1759-6653
Keyword(s) antibacterial protein
Summary Monotremes (platypus and echidna) are the descendants of the oldest ancestor of all extant mammals distinguished from other mammals by mode of reproduction. Monotremes lay eggs following a short gestation period and after an even briefer incubation period, altricial hatchlings are nourished over a long lactation period with milk secreted by nipple-less mammary patches located on the female's abdomen. Milk is the sole source of nutrition and immune protection for the developing young until weaning. Using transcriptome and mass spectrometry analysis of milk cells and milk proteins, respectively, a novel Monotreme Lactation Protein (MLP) was identified as a major secreted protein in milk. We show that platypus and short-beaked echidna MLP genes show significant homology and are unique to monotremes. The MLP transcript was shown to be expressed in a variety of tissues; however, highest expression was observed in milk cells and was expressed constitutively from early to late lactation. Analysis of recombinant MLP showed that it is an N-linked glycosylated protein and biophysical studies predicted that MLP is an amphipathic, α-helical protein, a typical feature of antimicrobial proteins. Functional analysis revealed MLP antibacterial activity against both opportunistic pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus and commensal Enterococcus faecalis bacteria but showed no effect on Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Salmonella enterica. Our data suggest that MLP is an evolutionarily ancient component of milk-mediated innate immunity absent in other mammals. We propose that MLP evolved specifically in the monotreme lineage supporting the evolution of lactation in these species to provide bacterial protection, at a time when mammals lacked nipples.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/gbe/evu209
Field of Research 110899 Medical Microbiology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920199 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Oxford University Press
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Medicine
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Created: Tue, 16 Dec 2014, 16:15:17 EST

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