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Mol Biosyst. 2011 Mar;7(3):579-97. doi: 10.1039/c0mb00027b. Epub 2010 Sep 29.

The bovine milk proteome: cherishing, nourishing and fostering molecular complexity. An interactomics and functional overview.

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Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Tuscia, Largo dell'Università, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy.


Bovine milk represents an essential source of nutrients for lactating calves and a key raw material for human food preparations. A wealth of data are present in the literature dealing with massive proteomic analyses of milk fractions and independent targeted studies on specific groups of proteins, such as caseins, globulins, hormones and cytokines. In this study, we merged data from previous investigations to compile an exhaustive list of 573 non-redundant annotated protein entries. This inventory was exploited for integrated in silico studies, including functional GO term enrichment (FatiGO/Babelomics), multiple pathway and network analyses. As expected, most of the milk proteins were grouped under pathways/networks/ontologies referring to nutrient transport, lipid metabolism and objectification of the immune system response. Notably enough, another functional family was observed as the most statistically significant one, which included proteins involved in the induction of cellular proliferation processes as well as in anatomical and haematological system development. Although the latter function for bovine milk proteins has long been postulated, studies reported so far mainly focused on a handful of molecules and missed the whole overview resulting from an integrated holistic analysis. A preliminary map of the bovine milk proteins interactome was also built up, which will be refined in future as result of the widespread use of quantitative methods in protein interaction studies and consequent reduction of false-positives within associated databases.

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