Probiotics are amongst the most common microbes in the gastro-intestinal tract of humans and other animals. Prominent among probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. They offer wide-ranging health promoting benefits to the host which include reduction in pathological alterations, stimulation of mucosal immunity and interaction with mediators of inflammation among others. Proteomics plays a vital role in understanding biological functions of a cell. Proteomics is also slowly and steadily adding to the existing knowledge on role of probiotics. In this paper, the proteomics of probiotics, with special reference to lactic acid bacteria is reviewed with a view to understand i) proteome map, ii) mechanism of adaptation to harsh gut environment such as low pH and bile acid, iii) role of cell surface proteins in adhering to intestinal epithelial cells, and iv) as a tool to answer basic cell functions. We have also reviewed various analytical methods used to carry out proteome analysis, in which 2D-MS and LC-MS/MS approaches were found to be versatile methods to perform high-throughput sample analyses even for a complex gut samples. Further, we present future road map of understanding gut microbes combining meta-proteomics, meta-genomics, meta-transcriptomics and -metabolomics.
Keywords: Bifidobacterium; Gut; Lactobacillus; Mass spectrometry; Probiotics; Proteomics.