Development of quantitative proteomics using iTRAQ based on the immunological response of Galleria mellonella larvae challenged with Fusarium oxysporum microconidia

Amalia Muñoz-Gómez, Mauricio Corredor, Alfonso Benítez-Páez, Carlos Peláez
PloS One 2014, 9 (11): e112179
Galleria mellonella has emerged as a potential invertebrate model for scrutinizing innate immunity. Larvae are easy to handle in host-pathogen assays. We undertook proteomics research in order to understand immune response in a heterologous host when challenged with microconidia of Fusarium oxysporum. The aim of this study was to investigate hemolymph proteins that were differentially expressed between control and immunized larvae sets, tested with F. oxysporum at two temperatures. The iTRAQ approach allowed us to observe the effects of immune challenges in a lucid and robust manner, identifying more than 50 proteins, 17 of them probably involved in the immune response. Changes in protein expression were statistically significant, especially when temperature was increased because this was notoriously affected by F. oxysporum 104 or 106 microconidia/mL. Some proteins were up-regulated upon immune fungal microconidia challenge when temperature changed from 25 to 37°C. After analysis of identified proteins by bioinformatics and meta-analysis, results revealed that they were involved in transport, immune response, storage, oxide-reduction and catabolism: 20 from G. mellonella, 20 from the Lepidoptera species and 19 spread across bacteria, protista, fungi and animal species. Among these, 13 proteins and 2 peptides were examined for their immune expression, and the hypothetical 3D structures of 2 well-known proteins, unannotated for G. mellonella, i.e., actin and CREBP, were resolved using peptides matched with Bombyx mori and Danaus plexippus, respectively. The main conclusion in this study was that iTRAQ tool constitutes a consistent method to detect proteins associated with the innate immune system of G. mellonella in response to infection caused by F. oxysporum. In addition, iTRAQ was a reliable quantitative proteomic approach to detect and quantify the expression levels of immune system proteins and peptides, in particular, it was found that 104 microconidia/mL at 37°C over expressed many more proteins than other treatments.

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