2Anuchin Research Institute and Museum of Anthropology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 125009 Moscow, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received February 17, 2020; Revised March 16, 2020; Accepted March 19, 2020
Determination of biological sex to human remains is a fundamental requirement in anthropological, archeological, and forensic anthropological studies. Sex determination based on morphological criteria is significantly limited in the cases of juvenile remains and adult skeletons in a poor state of preservation. Regular attempts have been made to use alternative techniques to resolve this issue, including analysis of tooth enamel peptides by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Optimization of this method involving acid etching of tooth enamel for 10 min followed by desalting of the products of etching on SDB-RPS StageTips microcolumns and analysis of desalted sample (1/3) by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry allowed reliable sex determination to fossil remains within a wide range of archeological and biological ages without destructing analyzed teeth. Increasing the duration of enamel etching ensured a 2 to 3-fold increase in the total number of identified peptides and, more importantly, in the number of identified fragments of amelogenin Y isoform specific for male teeth, which facilitated reliable sex determination of fossil remains. The suggested technique was tested with 8 permanent and 15 deciduous teeth of different archaeological age and different degree of preservation. Two amelogenin Y-specific peptide sequences were identified. One of these peptides [SM(+15.99)IRPPYS)] was found in all male-derived samples without exception; the other peptide [IRPPYSS(+79.97)], which contained phosphorylated Ser66 residue, was found only in the enamel from deciduous teeth, which suggests that phosphorylation of Ser66 plays a role in the enamel formation in deciduous teeth.
KEY WORDS: tooth enamel, sex determination, amelogenins, peptides, liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry