Claw horn disruption (CHD) is a common underlying cause of lameness in dairy cattle which leads to compromised animal welfare and production losses. Despite an intense research effort over the last two decades, progress in reducing the prevalence of lameness due to CHD has been limited. In addition to current research strategies there is a need to develop novel approaches and methods that expand understanding of the disease mechanisms involved in CHD. The objectives of the present study were to explore the potential of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in mapping protein expression in three different bovine claw tissues, and to provide a relevant functional annotation of the proteins characterized in these tissues. LC-MS/MS was used to characterize protein expression in coronary band skin (C), claw dermal (D) and lamellar (L) tissues from two heifers. A total of 388 different proteins were identified, with 146 proteins available for identification in C, 279 proteins in D and 269 proteins in L. A functional annotation of the identified proteins was obtained using the on-line Blast2GO tool. Three hundred and sixteen of the identified proteins could be subsequently grouped manually to one or more of five major functional groups related to metabolism, cell structure, immunity, apoptosis and angiogenesis. These were chosen to represent basic cell functions and biological processes potentially involved in the pathogenesis of CHD. The LC-MS/MS-based proteomic analysis presented here is the largest published survey, so far, of the bovine claw tissue proteome.
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