ISSN 1062-3604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2009, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 204–211. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2009.
Original Russian Text © S.N. Novikov, G.A. Churakov, A.A. Philimonenko, I.I. Ermakova, E.M. Fedorova, I.A. Burkot, 2009, published in Ontogenez, 2009, Vol. 40, No. 4,
One of the most mysterious sides in the life activity of
various rodents is associated with the phenomenon of
“physiological proteinuria” (Parfentjev, 1932). Despite the
fact that the molecular-genetic basis and physiological
mechanisms of the phenomenon itself were studied in detail
(Hastie et al., 1979; Berger, Szoka, 1981; Knopf et al., 1983;
Kuhn et al., 1984; McIntosh, Bishop, 1989; Al-Shavi et al.,
1992), the functional meaning of the sharply raised level of
protein excretion in urine remained until recently the most
difﬁcult puzzle in the biology of this numerous systematic
The ﬁrst reports regarding a possible regulatory role of
proteins found in urine of the house mouse, and particu-
larly of MUP (major urinary protein) complex fractions, in
the processes of intrapopulation informational exchange
via pheromones appeared in the beginning of the 1990th
(Böcskei et al., 1992; Bacchini et al., 1992; Churakov et al.,
1992; Robertson et al., 1993). These data caused many
detailed experimental and population genetic investigations
of the structural and functional features of MUPs fractions
(Robertson et al., 1996, 1997; Utsumi et al., 1999; Chura-
kov, Novikov, 2000; Marchlewska-Koj et al., 2000; Baba-
lyan, Novikov, 2001; Hurst et al., 2001, 2005; Marie et al.,
2001; Timm et al., 2001; Daev, Sverdlova, 2002; Sharrow et
al., 2002, 2005; Novikov, 2003; Armstrong et al., 2005;
The work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic
Research (projects no. 02-04-49273, 04-04-63050).
The article was translated by the authors.
Cavaggioni et al., 2006; Macek et al., 2006; More, 2006;
Stopkova et al., 2007).
It is an accepted hypothesis that excretion of MUPs
with urine is typical for males and is directly linked to the
androgenic status of an organism (Szoka, Paigen, 1978,
1979; Berger, Szoka, 1981; Hayakawa et al., 1983).
Meanwhile, as we have demonstrated earlier, in laboratory
mice the qualitative composition of MUPs of castrated
males is identical to that of females, and the MUPs pattern
is determined genetically (Churakov, Novikov, 2000).
These data allow us to put forward a question about the
role of genetic and age-related factors in the establishment
of sex differences in MUPs composition during postnatal
ontogenesis of the laboratory mouse.
The aim of our research was to perform a comparative
quantitative analysis of MUPs expression between males
and females of laboratory mice of two genotypes during
the pre- and postpubertal periods of ontogenesis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The experiments were performed using males and
females of two highly inbred and genealogically unrelated
laboratory mice strains, CBA/LacY and C57BL/6JY (
102). Animals were kept in groups of 4–6 individuals in
standard polypropylene cages T-2 (“Velaz”, Czech Repub-
lic) in the inverted light cycle conditions (day—12 h,
night—12 h). Our experiments were performed in spring.
The Pattern of Major Urinary Proteins (MUPS) Expression
during Postnatal Ontogenesis of the Laboratory Mouse Depends
on Genotype and Sex
S. N. Novikov, G. A. Churakov, A. A. Philimonenko, I. I. Ermakova,
E. M. Fedorova, and I. A. Burkot
I.P. Pavlov Institute of Physiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg, nab. Makarova, 6, 199034 Russia
Received June 8, 2007; in ﬁnal form, November 12, 2008
—We investigated the speciﬁc pattern of major urinary proteins (MUPs) expression in 3-, 4-, and
12-week old mice of CBA/LacY and C57BL/6JY inbred strains using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
Quantitative evaluation of 8 protein fractions A-H with regard to sex, age, and genotype of the animals is pre-
sented for the ﬁrst time. Actual problems of genetic control and neuroendocrine regulation of MUPs expression
during ontogenesis are discussed. In the light of current views on MUPs as a key component in intrapopulation
information exchange via pheromones, we put forward the idea that the genetically determined structure of the
olfactory code of the deﬁnitive type is formed at an early ontogenetic stage on the basis of the MUPs combina-
: pre- and postpubertal periods, laboratory mice, major urinary proteins, sex differences, phero-
mones, olfactory image, MUPs combinatorial pattern, structure of the olfactory code.