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J Chem Ecol. 1989 Apr;15(4):1335-47. doi: 10.1007/BF01014834.

Tannin-binding proteins in saliva of deer and their absence in saliva of sheep and cattle.

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Department of Chemistry, Miami University, 45056, Oxford, Ohio.


A method has been developed for detecting tannin-binding proteins in the saliva of herbivores. The method is simple and requires only small quantities of crude saliva. The saliva of deer, a browsing ruminant, has been compared to that of domestic sheep and cow, which are grazing ruminants. The browser, which normally ingests dietary tannin, produces tannin-binding proteins, while the grazers do not produce such proteins. The tannin-binding protein from deer saliva is a small glycoprotein containing large amounts of proline, glycine, and glutamate/glutamine. The protein is not closely related to the proline-rich salivary proteins found in rats and other nonruminant mammals.


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