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Profiling Protective Proteins In Dairy Cows

Date:
August 27, 2008
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Agricultural Research Service molecular biologist John Lippolis is delving into the dynamics of the dairy cow immune system. His work is resulting in the first close-up look at how immune system proteins help protect the cows, and how bacterial proteins fight back.

ARS molecular biologist John Lippolis is using shotgun proteomics--a cutting edge tool for conducting a detailed search for key immune system proteins--to better understand how cows respond to mastitis, an infection that costs dairy producers some $2 billion a year in lost milk and related costs.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) molecular biologist John Lippolis is delving into the dynamics of the dairy cow immune system. His work is resulting in the first close-up look at how immune system proteins help protect the cows, and how bacterial proteins fight back.

Lippolis works at the ARS Periparturient Diseases of Cattle Research Unit, part of the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa. He is using proteomics--the identification of the proteins that make up a cell--to identify and study neutrophils, the white blood cells that are a key part of the immune system.

When dairy cows develop mastitis, a bacterial infection that costs dairy producers some $2 billion every year, neutrophils are an essential part of the immune response. Lippolis identified proteins in bovine neutrophils and tracked how they change during infection.

Lippolis identified hundreds of neutrophil proteins. Nearly 35 percent were associated with basic cellular metabolic pathways, including most of the proteins involved in the production of cellular energy. Another 30 percent were involved in immune functions or in cell structure and mobility.

Lippolis then compared these newly identified neutrophil proteins in pregnant cows with those in cows that were in an immunosuppressive interlude after calving. Compared to the pregnant cows, he observed changes in the concentration of 40 proteins in the immunosuppressed cows.

Lippolis also compared neutrophils from periparturient cows--animals that had recently given birth and were in an immunosuppressive interlude--with neutrophils from cows that had been given the steroid dexamethasone to artificially suppress immune function. Although he found some similar changes in protein expression in both groups, there were also some significant differences between them.

All of these findings could guide Lippolis and other researchers in their search for ways to bolster bovine immune systems at the cellular level.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Ann Perry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Profiling Protective Proteins In Dairy Cows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201450.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2008, August 27). Profiling Protective Proteins In Dairy Cows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201450.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Profiling Protective Proteins In Dairy Cows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825201450.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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