Development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for vitellogenin of Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)

Kyle W. Selcer, Lisa M. Nespoli, Thomas R. Rainwater, Adam G. Finger, David A. Ray, Steven G. Platt, Philip N. Smith, Llewellyn D. Densmore, Scott T. McMurry

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3 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to develop an immunoassay for vitellogenin in Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii). Blood was collected from wild-caught crocodiles in Belize. Plasma samples from adult females taken during the breeding season were used for vitellogenin purification and samples from adult males were used for comparison. No differences were detected between males and females for plasma total protein concentration, as measured by Coomassie assay. However, denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) revealed that female plasma contained a 210-kDa protein, presumably the vitellogenin monomer, that was absent in adult male plasma. The identity of the putative vitellogenin was confirmed by its cross-reactivity in Western blots with a vitellogenin antiserum that was generated against a conserved vitellogenin peptide sequence. Crocodile vitellogenin was purified by two successive rounds of DEAE chromatography. The purified protein had an apparent molecular mass of 450 kDa, as determined by gel filtration chromatography, and 210 kDa on SDS-PAGE. An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was then developed for C. moreletii vitellogenin. The detection limit of the assay was 20.0 ng/mL. The intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation were 5.3% and 9.8%, respectively. The recovery of vitellogenin diluted into male plasma was 94.7%. The ELISA assay revealed that vitellogenin levels of adult female plasma during the breeding season ranged from 1.8 to 3.1 mg/mL with a mean of 2.5 ± 0.25 mg/mL. No vitellogenin was detected in adult male plasma. Induction of vitellogenin in Morelet's crocodile may be a useful model system for field studies of crocodile reproduction and for investigations of endocrine disruption in this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Crocodile
  • Crocodylus moreletii
  • Vitellogenin


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