Searching for Major Urinary Proteins (MUPs) as Chemosignals in Urine of Subterranean Rodents

Petra Hagemeyer, Sabine Begall, Katerina Janotova, Josephine Todrank, Giora Heth, Petr L. Jedelsky, Hynek Burda, Pavel Stopka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemosensory information mediates behavior in many rodent genera. Major Urinary Proteins (MUPs) facilitate chemical communication in some species of mice. We sought to demonstrate the importance of MUPs in chemosignaling across a range of rodent genera that live in different habitats and social structures. We analyzed urine from three subterranean rodent genera from different continents, and with diverse social systems: eusocial Zambian mole-rats (Fukomys), solitary Israeli blind mole rats (Spalax), and social Chilean coruros (Spalacopus). 2D gel electrophoresis revealed low levels of protein, with sequences similar to aphrodisin, in Fukomys mole-rat urine, but no MUPs in urine of any of the studied species. Previous research demonstrated that subjects from the tested genera responded differentially to odors indicating transmission of individuality, family/colony or population, species, and reproductive state in secretions and excretions of conspecifics. This extends, to subterranean rodents, the evidence that rodent species can successfully transmit and receive chemosignals without the necessity of MUPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-694
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This study was partially funded by the ‘Lise-Meitner Habilitationsprogramm’ granted to SB. KJ and PJ acknowledge the financial support of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MSM0021620828 and GA AV c. IAA601110908), and PJ acknowledges a grant from the Ministry of Education MSM0021620858 (PJ). The first two authors (P.H., S.B.) participated equally in this study and are therefore co-first authors.


  • Aphrodisin
  • Coruro
  • Fukomys
  • Lipocalin
  • Major urinary proteins
  • Mole-rat
  • Spalacopus
  • Spalax
  • Subterranean rodents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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