The workflow for quantitative proteome analysis of chloroplast development and differentiation, chloroplast mutants, and protein interactions by spectral counting

Methods Mol Biol. 2011;775:265-82. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-237-3_14.


This chapter outlines a quantitative proteomics workflow using a label-free spectral counting technique. The workflow has been tested on different aspects of chloroplast biology in maize and Arabidopsis, including chloroplast mutant analysis, cell-type specific chloroplast differentiation, and the proplastid-to-chloroplast transition. The workflow involves one-dimensional SDS-PAGE of the proteomes of leaves or chloroplast subfractions, tryptic digestions, online LC-MS/MS using a mass spectrometer with high mass accuracy and duty cycle, followed by semiautomatic data processing. The bioinformatics analysis can effectively select best gene models and deals with quantification of closely related proteins; the workflow avoids overidentification of proteins and results in more accurate protein quantification. The final output includes pairwise comparative quantitative analysis, as well as hierarchical clustering for discovery of temporal and spatial patterns of protein accumulation. A brief discussion about potential pitfalls, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of spectral counting, is provided.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Chloroplast Proteins / genetics
  • Chloroplast Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Chloroplast Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / genetics
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, Reverse-Phase
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Data Mining
  • Databases, Protein
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Mutation*
  • Nanotechnology
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / cytology
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Zea mays / cytology
  • Zea mays / genetics
  • Zea mays / metabolism


  • Chloroplast Proteins