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Electrophoresis. 2008 Feb;29(3):604-17. doi: 10.1002/elps.200700412.

Removal of high-abundance proteins for nuclear subproteome studies in rice (Oryza sativa) endosperm.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA.


Endosperm is a highly specialized storage organ with three sets of genomes. It is one of the most economically important organs in plants. Endosperm development involves parental imprinting and endoreduplication. A thorough study of the endosperm proteome, particularly the nuclear proteome, may provide critical insight into the regulation of seed development. Unfortunately, endosperm is extremely rich in starch grains and protein bodies of different sizes, making proteome studies on nonstorage proteins, particularly the low-abundance proteins, very challenging. Here we have developed a chromatographic method to remove large starch grains and an electrophoresis method to recover low-abundance proteins, respectively. Using these methods, we have identified 468 proteins from the nuclear enriched fraction of rice endosperm, including transcription factors, histone modification proteins, kinetochore proteins, centromere/microtubule binding proteins, and transposon proteins. Among the 468 proteins, 208 (44%) are hypothetical proteins, indicating that the endosperm proteome is poorly explored. In addition, analyses of the MS/MS data using BioWorks 3.1 have identified 59 putative acetylated proteins and 40 putative methylated proteins. Our studies have developed a method to remove starch grains and recover low-abundance proteins, respectively. The methods should be applicable to other organisms.

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