The animal Article of the month for January is an ‘animal board invited review: advances in proteomics for animal and food sciences’

Proteomic analysis has developed rapidly over the last decade but applications of this technology in animal science have been notably absent, which is surprising considering that the main objective of livestock farming is the production of edible protein whether from poultry, beef, swine, dairy products or aquaculture.  Over the last four years, a network of experts has been established under the umbrella of the EU funded COST Action on Farm Animal Proteomics (www.cost-faproteomics.org) which has led to collaborative research in which leading exponents in proteomic analysis have established fruitful collaboration with colleagues from a wide range of animal sciences.  The animal Article of the Month is a review of the current state of the art of proteomic uses in animal production and aquaculture, not only during production but in relation to the farm to fork processing.  Furthermore issues that have been identified during the COST Action that need to be addressed prior to further applications of proteomics have been highlighted.

The applications of proteomics in animal sciences are as wide as the discipline itself.  For example, in swine production, proteome differences in the muscle phenotypes of Landrace, Duroc, Meishan, and Casertana breeds have been linked to enzymes of energy metabolism providing a bridge between genetics, physiology and production.  In animal disease research, investigations have identified detailed protein changes in acquired and innate host immune responses to systemic pathogens and in infection of the mammary gland, while pathogen proteomics has characterised the infectious agents.  In aquaculture, the effects on the seasonal alteration in sea temperature on seabream growth and nutrition have been examined with changes in the serum proteome determined, while novel diagnostics for infectious disease of Atlantic salmon and the resulting tissue damage have been characterised.  Research in proteomics in the evaluation of allergens in food of animal origin is contributing to a further COST Action (ImpARAS, www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/fa/Actions/FA1402).

The future of proteomic analysis in animal science is especially promising.  Close links have been established between animal scientists and facilities with the most advanced instrumentation and technology for targeted and quantitative proteomics, for instance by selected reaction monitoring which will allow changes in multiple proteins to be determined simultaneously in small sample volumes.  Of equal importance is that the bioinformatics analysis, essential for interpretation of the output of mass spectrometry, which is the end point of much proteomics, is able to serve the community and is able to adapt to its increasing use in farm animal and aquaculture study.  Indeed, there is an immediate need for resource to be devoted on an international scale to the annotation of proteins and gene ontology of domestic animal species so that bioinformatic databases may be used to maximum efficiency.

The animal Board Invited Review “Advances in Proteomics for Animal and Food Sciences” is a starting point which should provide a stimulus for the optimal use of this fascinating and revealing technology.  Authored by a number of members of the COST Action, it demonstrates the wide interest in this new field of research. All co-authors would welcome opportunities for discussion and dissemination of the accumulated knowledge that has so far been gained.

The Open Access paper is available here

Authors: A. M. Almeida, A. Bassols, E. Bendixen, M. Bhide, F. Ceciliani, S. Cristobal, P. D. Eckersall, K. Hollung, F. Lisacek, G. Mazzucchelli, M. McLaughlin, I. Miller, J. E. Nally, J. Plowman, J. Renaut, P. Rodrigues, P. Roncada, J. Staric and R. Turk

The animal Article of the Month is selected by the Editor-in-Chief and is freely available for one month.

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