Proteome characterization of cassava

Proteomics is increasingly becoming an important tool for the study of many different aspects of plant functions, such as investigating the molecular processes underlying in plant physiology, development, differentiation and their interaction with the environments. To investigate the cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) proteome, we extracted proteins from somatic embryos, plantlets and tuberous roots of cultivar SC8 and separated them by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE).

Results: Analysis by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) yielded a total of 383 proteins including isoforms, classified into 14 functional groups.

The majority of these were carbohydrate and energy metabolism associated proteins (27.2%), followed by those involved in protein biosynthesis (14.4%). Subsequent analysis has revealed that 54, 59, 74 and 102 identified proteins are unique to the somatic embryos, shoots, adventitious roots and tuberous roots, respectively.

Some of these proteins may serve as signatures for the physiological and developmental stages of somatic embryos, shoots, adventitious roots and tuberous root. Western blotting results have shown high expression levels of Rubisco in shoots and its absence in the somatic embryos.

In addition, high-level expression of alpha-tubulin was found in tuberous roots, and a low-level one in somatic embryos. This extensive study effectively provides a huge data set of dynamic protein-related information to better understand the molecular basis underlying cassava growth, development, and physiological functions.

Conclusion: This work paves the way towards a comprehensive, system-wide analysis of the cassava.

Integration with transcriptomics, metabolomics and other large scale -omics data with systems biology approaches can open new avenues towards engineering cassava to enhance yields, improve nutritional value and overcome the problem of post-harvest physiological deterioration.

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