subject: proteomics

Milk Protein Comparison Unveils Nutritional Gems for Human Infants

Milk Protein Comparison Unveils Nutritional Gems for Human Infants

As any new parent can tell you, human newborns are very needy—and for good reason. Born at an earlier developmental stage than their primate relatives, human infants must accomplish a great deal of fetal development (some say the equivalent of nine more months!) outside of the womb. Responsibility for this “fourth trimester” falls squarely on the shoulders of human breast milk, and so it is no surprise that decades of research have searched for attributes in human milk that support the unique developmental needs of human infants. While much of the focus has gone to milk fats and carbohydrates, a new study has turned the attention to milk proteins (1). Utilizing new methods in protein identification, Beck et al. present the most comprehensive human milk proteome (the list of the types and quantities of all proteins in milk) to date, as well as the first milk proteome for a nonhuman primate, the rhesus macaque. Despite having less total protein than rhesus macaque milk, Beck et al. found that human milk has more than three times the types of proteins in rhesus milk and higher quantities of nearly every milk protein that the two species share. Their findings demonstrate that from digestion, to immunity, to neurodevelopment, human infants get more of a boost from milk proteins than their primate cousins. Read More...

Genes for More Proteinaceous Milk

Genes for More Proteinaceous Milk

The world of cattle breeding is one of extremes. With the help of the international postal service, humans have skewed the genetics of the rich world’s cattle herds so much that even the most polygynous elephant seal couldn’t keep up. Just two bulls, ‘Pawnee Farm Arlinda Chief’ (Chief, born in 1962) and his son, ‘Walkway Chief Mark’ (Mark, born 1978), have no fewer than 60,000 daughters between them in Australia, plus countless others elsewhere. This is a blessing for detectives of milk genetics for it makes the task of correlating milk output with complex genomic features much cheaper than it would otherwise be. Read More...

Milk Peptides Fight Bacteria

Milk Peptides Fight Bacteria

Milk is a wonderfully complex fluid that is not only nutritious but is also physiologically proactive. Recently, David Dallas and his colleagues from University of California at Davis used a cutting-edge approach to probe the depths of milk composition. The initial results revealed that human breast milk contains proteins which are digested into peptides, some with antibacterial properties. Read More...

Mining Animal Biodiversity to Improve Dairy Outcomes

Mining Animal Biodiversity to Improve Dairy Outcomes

Dairy farmers everywhere would rejoice if scientists discovered a way to breed cows that continually produce milk. The answer to this biological riddle may lie in the study of other milk-producing animals. Weird animals produce milk with various lactation strategies. Some produce all of their milk in just a couple days while others produce milk over five years. Some produce copious amounts of milk for a couple days and then not again for several weeks. By comparing the lactation strategies of different animals, researchers can identify exciting new methods of milk production. Read More...

Talking the TORC

Talking the TORC

Milk has evolved to sustain life through supporting the growth and healthy development of infants. A recent article in the prestigious journal Science reported a breakthrough in our understanding of what lies behind the cellular mechanism of the growth “switch”. Read More...

Milk Cells Cast NETs to Snare Pathogens

Milk Cells Cast NETs to Snare Pathogens

The list of proteins in cow’s milk just keeps getting longer. Tim Reinhardt and colleagues have now discovered nearly 3000 unique proteins in cow’s milk (1). While that would be a story by itself, they also reveal evidence for web-like nets that immune cells secrete into milk when pathogens are present. Yes, milk is cooler than fiction. Read More...

To Secrete or Not to Secrete

To Secrete or Not to Secrete

On a cruise ship with a Norovirus outbreak, the chance of becoming infected is largely determined by a single gene: FUT2. Likewise, a mother’s “secretor status”—whether or not she secretes certain protective sugars in milk—is determined by this same gene. Want to know more about FUT2 and the protective sugars in mother's milk? Read More...

Proteases vs. antiproteases: The battle over milk digestion

Proteases vs. antiproteases: The battle over milk digestion

Surprisingly, milk protein digestion begins in the mammary gland, long before the milk is consumed. There, a battle rages between enzymes called proteases, which break down proteins, and antiproteases that act as shields by protecting other proteins from being completely digested. The result of this competition is a delicate balance of intact protein and partially digested protein segments. Read More...

The Many Faces of Lactoferrin

Fresh out of the womb, a newborn baby is challenged with armies of disease-causing microbes. How does he survive this onslaught? In some parts of the world, he doesn't. Millions of babies die each year in the first few months of life from common infections. A recent publication by Barboza and colleagues unfolds how a major milk protein, lactoferrin, displays different "faces", depending on which pathogens are present. Read More...

The Milky500: five hundred worthy proteins

The Milky500: five hundred worthy proteins

The Indy 500 is perhaps the most famous car race in the United States. Unlike every other sporting competition in the world, the legendary 500 mile car race is celebrated with the victor drinking not Champagne, but rather a bottle of fresh milk! The latest research suggests that the term "500" may have more to do with the milk, than with the miles. Read More...