Quantitative proteome analysis of bovine mammary gland reveals protein dynamic changes involved in peak and late lactation stages

Mammary gland is an important organ for milk synthesis and secretion. It undergoes dramatic physiological changes to adapt the shift from peak to late lactation stage. Protein plays a final very vital role in many life functions, and the protein changes during different lactation stages potentially reflect the biology of lactation and the functions of mammary gland in cows. In current study, we adopted tandem mass tags label-based quantitative analysis technique and to investigate proteome changes occurring in bovine mammary gland from peak to late lactation stages. A total of 3753 proteins from mammary tissues taken at two lactation points from four individual cows by biopsy were quantified, out of which 179 proteins were expressed differentially between two stages. We observed five new DEPs (PLIN2, LPIN1, PLIN3, AACS and DHCR7) and nine functional well-studies known proteins (PLIN2, LPIN1, PLIN3, GSN, CD74, MMP2, SOD1, SOD3 and GPX3) related to milk performance and mammary morphology. Bioinformatics analyses of the DEPs showed a majority of the up-regulated proteins during late lactation stage were related to apoptosis and immune process, while the downregulated proteins were mainly involved in localization, lipid metabolic and transport process. This suggests that the mammary gland can adapt to different molecular functions according to the biological need of the animal. From the integrated analysis of the differentially expressed proteins with known quantitative trait loci and genome-wide association study data, we identified 95 proteins may potentially affect milking performance. We expect findings in this study could be a valuable resource for future studies investigating the bovine proteome and functional studies.