Latherin: a surfactant protein of horse sweat and saliva

Rhona E. McDonald, Rachel I. Flemming, John G. Beeley, Douglas L. Bovell, Jian R. Lu, Xiubo Zhao, Alan Cooper, Malcolm W. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Horses are unusual in producing protein-rich sweat for thermoregulation, a major component of which is latherin, a highly surface-active, non-glycosylated protein. The amino acid sequence of latherin, determined from cDNA analysis, is highly conserved across four geographically dispersed equid species (horse, zebra, onager, ass), and is similar to a family of proteins only found previously in the oral cavity and associated tissues of mammals. Latherin produces a significant reduction in water surface tension at low concentrations (=1 mg ml-1), and therefore probably acts as a wetting agent to facilitate evaporative cooling through a waterproofed pelt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e5726
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • latherin
  • equine physiology


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