Bovine milk exosome proteome

J Proteomics. 2012 Feb 16;75(5):1486-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2011.11.017. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


Exosomes are 40-100 nm membrane vesicles of endocytic origin, secreted by cells and are found in biological fluids including milk. These exosomes are extracellular organelles important in intracellular communication, and immune function. Therefore, the proteome of bovine milk exosomes may provide insight into the complex processes of milk production. Exosomes were isolated from the milk of mid-lactation cows. Purified exosomes were trypsin digested, subjected offline high pH reverse phase chromatography and further fractionated on a nanoLC connected to tandem mass spectrometer. This resulted in identification of 2107 proteins that included all of the major exosome protein markers. The major milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) proteins (Butyrophilin, Xanthine oxidase, Adipophilin and Lactadherin) were the most abundant proteins found in milk exosomes. However, they represented only 0.4-1.2% of the total spectra collected from milk exosomes compared to 15-28% of the total spectra collected in the MFGM proteome. These data show that the milk exosome secretion pathway differs significantly from that of the MFGM in part due to the greatly reduced presence of MFGM proteins. The protein composition of milk exosomes provides new information on milk protein composition and the potential physiological significance of exosomes to mammary physiology.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Exosomes / chemistry
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Exosomes / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk / metabolism*
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Milk Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Proteome / metabolism*


  • Milk Proteins
  • Proteome