Bovine milk contains small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) that provide proteins, miRNAs, mRNAs, DNAs, and lipids to target cells and play a role in intracellular communications. Previous studies have characterized proteins in milk sEVs from early- and mid-stage lactation. However, the proteins in milk sEVs from late-stage lactation are mostly unexplored. The aim of this study was to determine the proteomic profile of milk sEVs from late-stage lactating cows. A comprehensive nanoliquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (nanoLC-MS/MS) approach was carried out to reveal the proteins in milk sEVs. Additionally, bioinformatics analysis was carried out to interpret the molecular signatures of newly identified proteins in milk sEVs from three late-stage lactating cows. NanoLC-MS/MS analysis revealed a total of 2225 proteins in milk sEVs from cows. Notably, after comparing these identified proteins with previously deposited datasets of proteins in bovine milk sEVs, 429 proteins were detected as newly identified. Bioinformatic analysis indicated that these newly identified proteins in milk sEVs were engaged in a diverse range of molecular phenomena relevant to mammary gland physiology, milk production, immunity, and immune response. These findings suggest that the newly identified proteins could expand the inventory application of molecular cargos, nutritional status, and immune modulation of sEVs in milk during the late-stage lactation.
Keywords: cow; late-stage lactation; milk sEVs; nanoLC-MS/MS; protein.