Stomach lysozymes of the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), an arboreal folivore from the Neotropics
Pacheco, M.A., Concepción, J.L., Rangel, J.D.R., Ruiz, M.C., Michelangeli, F. and Domínguez-Bello, M.G., 2007. Stomach lysozymes of the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), an arboreal folivore from the Neotropics. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 147(3), pp.808-819.
Lysozymes are antimicrobial defences that act as digestive enzymes when expressed in the stomach of herbivores with pre-gastric fermentation. We studied this enzyme in the complex stomach of the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), a folivore with pre-gastric fermentation. Lysozymes were identified by SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting in all portions: diverticulum, pouch, glandular and muscular prepyloric area with 14.3 kDa of molecular mass. Purified lysozymes from all areas but the diverticulum were characterized by MALDI-TOF, optimal pH, optimal ionic strength, and specific activity. The differences observed suggested at least three isoforms. The optimal pHs were similar to the pH of the stomach portion where the enzymes were isolated. The lysozyme from the pouch (fermentation chamber) exhibited higher specific activity and concentration than the others. The specific activity of the enzyme from the acid muscular prepyloric portion was comparable to that reported in the cow abomasums; however, its concentration was lower than that observed in cow. This distinctive pattern of secretion/specific activity and overall low concentration suggests different roles for the lysozymes in this herbivore compared to Artiodactyla. We postulate that sloth stomach lysozymes may still be antimicrobial defences by protecting the microbial flora of the fermentation chamber against foreign bacteria.
Key words: Bradypus, ecology, biology, diet, digestion, physiology