Comparative proteomic analyses using iTRAQ-labeling provides insights into fiber diversity in sheep and goats

Yan Li, Guangxian Zhou, Rui Zhang, Jiazhong Guo, Chao Li, Graeme Martin, Yulin Chen, Xiaolong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The structural component of wool and hair fibers, such as keratin-associated proteins (KAPs), has been well described, but the genetic determinants of fiber diameter are largely unknown. Here, we have used an iTRAQ-based proteomic approach to investigate differences in protein abundance among 18 samples from sheep and goats across a diverse range of fibers. We identified proteins with different abundance and are associated with variation in fiber features. Proteins with different abundance are mainly keratin or keratin-associated proteins (KRTAP11-1, KRT6A, KRT38), or are related to hair growth (DSC2, DSG3, EEF2, CALML5, TCHH, SELENBP1) and fatty acid synthesis (FABP4, FABP5). RNA-seq further confirmed the functional importance of the DSC2 gene in the determination of woolly phenotype in goat fibers. This comprehensive analysis of fibers from major fiber-producing animals is the first to provide a list of candidate proteins that are involved in fiber formation. This list will be valuable asset for future studies into the molecular mechanisms that underlie fiber diversity. Biological significance Proteins are the basis for animal-derived hair fibers, yet proteins conferring fiber structure and characteristics in sheep and goats are largely elusive. By examining 27 fibers samples representing 9 fiber types from sheep and goats through the iTRAQ approach, we show a list of differentially abundant proteins that are important to hair structural component, or genes related to hair growth and fatty acid synthesis. RNA-seq further validated the DSC2 gene is key to the woolly/straight hair phenotype in goats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2018


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