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J Proteomics. 2012 Mar 16;75(6):1895-905. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2011.12.037. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Proteomic analysis of egg white proteins during the early phase of embryonic development.

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National Research and Development Center for Egg Processing, College of Food Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University,Wuhan, Hubei 430070, PR China.


Avian egg albumen participates in embryonic development by providing essential nutrients as well as antimicrobial protection. Although various biological functions of egg white proteins were suggested during embryogenesis, global changes of these proteins under incubation conditions remained uninvestigated. This study presents a proteomic analysis on the change of egg white proteins during the first week of embryonic development. By using 2-DE, together with MALDI-TOF MS/MS, thirty protein spots representing eight proteins were identified showing significant changes in abundance during incubation. An accelerating degradation of ovalbumin was observed in a wide range of molecular weight. In addition, four protein complexes were predicted according to the detected molecular weight increase. Among these speculated protein complexes, an ovalbumin spot coupled with RNA-binding protein was detected. The absence of these protein complexes before incubation, followed by the constant increase in abundance during incubation indicates conceivable pivotal roles in embryonic development. To better understand the function of the proteins identified in this study, discrepancies of egg white protein changes between fertilized and unfertilized chicken eggs were additionally demonstrated. These findings will provide insight into the embryogenesis process to improve our knowledge of egg white proteins in regulating and supporting early embryonic development.

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