Journal of Proteome Research (2012), 11, 11, 5384--5395 DOI: 10.1021/pr300617a
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) in addition to milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, wheat, tree nuts, and soybean are commonly referred to as the "big eight" foods that contribute to the majority of food allergies worldwide. Despite the severity of allergic reactions and growing prevalence in children and adults, there is no cure for peanut allergy, leaving avoidance as the primary mode of treatment. To improve analytical methods for peanut allergen detection, researchers must overcome obstacles involved in handling complex food matrices while attempting to decipher the chemistry that underlies allergen protein interactions. To address such challenges, we conducted a global proteome characterization of raw peanuts using a sophisticated GELFrEE-PAGE-LC-MS/MS platform consisting of gel-based protein fractionation followed by mass spectrometric identification. The in-solution mass-selective protein fractionation: (1) enhances the number of unique peptide identifications, (2) provides a visual map of protein isoforms, and (3) aids in the identification of disulfide-linked protein complexes. GELFrEE-PAGE-LC-MS/MS not only overcomes many of the challenges involved in the study of plant proteomics, but enriches the understanding of peanut protein chemistry, which is typically unattainable in a traditional bottom-up proteomic analysis. A global understanding of protein chemistry in Arachis hypogaea ultimately will aid the development of improved methods for allergen detection in food.