SILIP: a novel stable isotope labeling method for in planta quantitative proteomic analysis

Plant J. 2008 Dec;56(5):840-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03639.x. Epub 2008 Sep 5.


Due to ease of manipulation, metabolic isotope coding of samples for proteomic analysis is typically performed in cell culture, thus preventing an accurate in vivo quantitative analysis, which is only achievable in intact organisms. To address this issue in plant biology, we developed SILIP (stable isotope labeling in planta) using tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Rutgers) as a method that allows soil-grown plants to be efficiently labeled using a 14N/15N isotope coding strategy. After 2 months of growth on 14N- and 15N-enriched nitrogen sources, proteins were extracted from four distinct tomato tissues (roots, stems, leaves and flowers), digested, and analyzed by LC/MS/MS (data-dependent acquisition, DDA) and alternating low- and elevated-energy MS scans (data-independent acquisition, MS(E)). Using a derived relationship to generate a theoretical standard curve, the measured ratio of the M (monoisotopic) and M-1 isotopologues of 70 identified 15N-labeled peptides from 16 different proteins indicated that 15N incorporation was almost 99%, which is in excellent agreement with the 99.3% 15N-enriched nitrate used in the soil-based medium. Values for the various tissues ranged from 98.2 +/- 0.3% 15N incorporation in leaves to 98.8 2 +/- 0.2% in stems, demonstrating uniform labeling throughout the plant. In addition, SILIP is compatible with root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) development, and thus provides a new quantitative proteomics tool to study both plant and plant-microorganism systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Isotope Labeling / methods*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Nitrogen Isotopes / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Soil
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Plant Proteins
  • Soil
  • Nitrogen