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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2014 Oct;13(10):2673-86. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M113.037259. Epub 2014 Jul 18.

Colonization state influences the hemocyte proteome in a beneficial squid-Vibrio symbiosis.

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  • 1From the ‡Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, 06269;
  • 2§Chemical Biology Division, New England Biolabs Inc., Ipswich, Massachusetts, 01938;
  • 3‖Graduate School of Genome Science and Technology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37996.
  • 4From the ‡Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, 06269;


The squid Euprymna scolopes and the luminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri form a highly specific beneficial light organ symbiosis. Not only does the host have to select V. fischeri from the environment, but it must also prevent subsequent colonization by non-symbiotic microorganisms. Host macrophage-like hemocytes are believed to play a role in mediating the symbiosis with V. fischeri. Previous studies have shown that the colonization state of the light organ influences the host's hemocyte response to the symbiont. To further understand the molecular mechanisms behind this process, we used two quantitative mass-spectrometry-based proteomic techniques, isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) and label-free spectral counting, to compare and quantify the adult hemocyte proteomes from colonized (sym) and uncolonized (antibiotic-treated/cured) squid. Overall, iTRAQ allowed for the quantification of 1,024 proteins with two or more peptides. Thirty-seven unique proteins were determined to be significantly different between sym and cured hemocytes (p value < 0.05), with 20 more abundant proteins and 17 less abundant in sym hemocytes. The label-free approach resulted in 1,241 proteins that were identified in all replicates. Of 185 unique proteins present at significantly different amounts in sym hemocytes (as determined by spectral counting), 92 were more abundant and 93 were less abundant. Comparisons between iTRAQ and spectral counting revealed that 30 of the 37 proteins quantified via iTRAQ exhibited trends similar to those identified by the label-free method. Both proteomic techniques mutually identified 16 proteins that were significantly different between the two groups of hemocytes (p value < 0.05). The presence of V. fischeri in the host light organ influenced the abundance of proteins associated with the cytoskeleton, adhesion, lysosomes, proteolysis, and the innate immune response. These data provide evidence that colonization by V. fischeri alters the hemocyte proteome and reveals proteins that may be important for maintaining host-symbiont specificity.

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