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Using Proteomics to Create Tools for Marine Mammal Kidney Health

Michael Janech, College of Charleston

21 September 2018

Urinary proteins have been qualified as diagnostic, predictive, and prognostic markers of kidney injury in both human medical and domestic veterinary fields; however, the application of protein markers for the assessment of kidney diseases in wild animals, have been hampered in part by the lack of ‘omic’ studies. This continues to be the case for marine mammals and as a result, the diagnosis of kidney injury in these animals greatly relies on traditional and less sensitive serum chemistry markers of kidney function. Implications of misdiagnosis can negatively impact survival at rehabilitation centers as well as lead to a misrepresentation of environmental impacts upon marine mammal health during assessments. Recent efforts to characterize the urine proteome of California sea lions have allowed us to define the urine proteome of sea lions with and without Leptospirosis kidney disease. 2694 urine proteins were identified by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry across 19 sea lions. The most abundant urine proteins in sea lions were similar to the most abundant urine proteins in dogs and humans with the exception of resistin, lysozyme C, and NHE-RF1 Na(+)/H(+) exchange regulatory cofactor, all of which appear to be greatly over-represented in sea lion urine. Compared with sea lions with an absence of kidney dysfunction, neutrophil gelatinase associated-lipocalin, osteopontin, and epidermal fatty acid binding proteins were elevated over 20-fold in the leptospirosis-infected sea lions. These data suggest that urine proteins considered markers of kidney injury, in humans and domestic veterinary animals, may share a common diagnostic fate.