Proteomic analysis of reproduction proteins involved in litter size from porcine placenta

A gel-free and label-free quantitative proteomic approach based on a spectral counting strategy was performed to discover prolificacy-related proteins. Soluble proteins of porcine placenta from small litter size group (SLSG) and large litter size group (LLSG) were extracted and subsequently applied to in-solution tryptic digestion followed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry analysis. Six and thirteen proteins were highly expressed in SLSG and LLSG, respectively. Of the dominantly expressed proteins, we chose prolificacy-related proteins such as puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase (PSA) and retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4). Western blot analysis confirmed that the processed form (70 kDa) of PSA was more expressed and RBP4 (23 kDa) was dominantly expressed in LLSG. These results indicate that PSA and RBP4 are representative proteins involved in porcine fertility traits, and this finding may help to increase litter size of pigs.