Biochemical isolation and purification of ovulation-inducing factor (OIF) in seminal plasma of llamas

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Background: The objective of the present study was to isolate and purify the protein fraction(s) of llama seminal plasma responsible for the ovulation-inducing effect of the ejaculate.Methods: Semen collected from male llamas by artificial vagina was centrifuged and the seminal plasma was harvested and stored frozen. Seminal plasma was thawed and loaded onto a Type 1 macro-prep ceramic hydroxylapatite column and elution was carried out using a lineal gradient with 350 mM sodium phosphate. Three protein fractions were identified clearly (Fractions A, B, and C), where a prominent protein band with a mass of 14 kDa was identified in Fraction C. Fraction C was loaded into a sephacryl gel filtration column for further purification using fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC). Isocratic elution resulted in 2 distinct protein fractions (Fractions C1 and C2). An in vivo bioassay (n = 10 to 11 llamas per group) was used to determine the ovarian effect of each fraction involving treatment with saline (negative control), whole seminal plasma (positive control), or seminal plasma Fractions A, B or C2. Ultrasonography was done to detect ovulation and CL formation, and blood samples were taken to measure plasma progesterone and LH concentrations.Results: Ovulation and CL formation was detected in 0/10, 10/11, 0/10, 2/11, and 10/11 llamas treated with saline, whole seminal plasma, Fractions A, B and C2 respectively (P < 0.001). A surge in circulating concentrations of LH was detected within 2 hours only in llamas treated with either whole seminal plasma or Fraction C2. Plasma progesterone concentration and CL diameter profiles were greatest (P < 0.05) in llamas treated with Fraction C2.Conclusion: Ovulation-inducing factor was isolated from llama seminal plasma as a 14 kDa protein molecule that elicits a preovulatory LH surge followed by ovulation and CL formation in llamas, suggesting an endocrine effect at the level of the hypothalamus (release of GnRH) or the pituitary (gonadotrophs). © 2011 Ratto et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Ratto, M. H., Delbaere, L. T. J., Leduc, Y. A., Pierson, R. A., & Adams, G. P. (2011). Biochemical isolation and purification of ovulation-inducing factor (OIF) in seminal plasma of llamas. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 9.

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