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The glycoproteomics of hawk and caiman tears



Glycoproteins are important tear components that participate in the stability of the ocular surface. However, the glycopeptides that are present in the tears of wild animals have not yet been described. This work aimed to describe the glycoproteomic profile of roadside hawk (Rupornis magnirostris) and caiman (Caiman latirostris) tears.


Tears collected from 10 hawks and 70 caimans using Schirmer tear test strips were used in this study. The samples were submitted to trypsin digestion and separated using a reverse-phase column coupled to a mass spectrometer associated to a nanospray ionization source. The glycoproteins were categorized as: cellular components, biological processes and molecular function, according to the UniProt Knowledgebase.


As shown by the liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, all glycopeptides found were classified as N-type. Of the 51 glycoproteins that were identified in the hawk tear film, the most abundant were ovotransferrin, globulins and complement system proteins. In the caiman tear film, 29 glycoproteins were identified. The most abundant caiman glycoproteins were uncharacterized proteins, ATPases, globulins and proteasome components. Ontological characterization revealed that the glycoproteins were extracellular, and the most identified molecular function was endopeptidase activity for both species.


Glycoproteins are abundant in the tear film of the bird and reptile species studied herein, and all these molecules were shown to have N-type modifications. Location at the extracellular space and an endopeptidase inhibitor activity were the main cell component and molecular function for both species, respectively. These profiles showed differences when compared to human tears, are possibly linked to adaptive processes and can be the basis for further studies on the search of disease biomarkers.

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