1Faculty of Food Sciences, Wroc ł aw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, ul. Chełmońskiego 37, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland. email@example.com
The protein mixture of cytokine-inducing activity accompanying chicken immunoglobulin Y, named yolkin, consists of several peptides of molecular weight (MW) ranging from over 1 to 35 kDa. Yolkin and its constituent peptides were found to be efficient inducers of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and IL-10 secretion. N-terminal amino acid sequences of eight of the electrophoretically purified yolkin constituents revealed that all of them are homological to some fragments of the C-terminal domain of vitellogenin II. The fractions of MW about 4 and 12 kDa are free of carbohydrates and start at position 1732 in the vitellogenin amino acid sequence; whereas the other fractions (MW about 16, 19, 23, 29, 32 and 35 kDa) appeared to be glycoproteins corresponding to the amino acid sequence of vitellogenin starting at position 1572. From these data, it is concluded that yolkin most likely represents vitellogenin-derived peptides that possess cytokine-inducing activity and are, at least partially, responsible for such properties of separated immunoglobulin Y preparation. This finding reveals a new role for vitellogenin as a reservoir of polypeptides that may play an important role in the innate immune system of the developing embryo.