The attractive properties of male urinary pheromones were tested on adult or prepubertal male and female mice. An androgen-dependent protein is present in adult male urine (major urinary protein, MUP) which has been suggested to be a pheromone-binding protein. We tested the pheromonal properties of the protein-bound volatiles in a test of attractiveness. These molecules, that co-purify with MUP, attract females and repel adult males. In prepubertal animals, females are repelled and males are attracted by the same stimuli. These results are similar to those obtained by others with adult male whole urine. Therefore MUP binds molecules with a pheromonal activity, and these molecules are sufficient to act as male signals.
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