Proteomic and Bioinformatic Profile of Primary Human Oral Epithelial Cells

Wounding of the oral mucosa occurs frequently in a highly septic environment. Remarkably, these wounds heal quickly and the oral cavity, for the most part, remains healthy. Deciphering the normal human oral epithelial cell (NHOEC) proteome is critical for understanding the mechanism(s) of protection elicited when the mucosal barrier is intact, as well as when it is breached. Combining 2D gel electrophoresis with shotgun proteomics resulted in identification of 1662 NHOEC proteins. Proteome annotations were performed based on protein classes, molecular functions, disease association and membership in canonical and metabolic signaling pathways. Comparing the NHOEC proteome with a database of innate immunity-relevant interactions (InnateDB) identified 64 common proteins associated with innate immunity. Comparison with published salivary proteomes revealed that 738/1662 NHOEC proteins were common, suggesting that significant numbers of salivary proteins are of epithelial origin. Gene ontology analysis showed similarities in the distributions of NHOEC and saliva proteomes with regard to biological processes, and molecular functions. We also assessed the interindividual variability of the NHOEC proteome and observed it to be comparable with other primary cells. The baseline proteome described in this study should serve as a resource for proteome studies of the oral mucosa, especially in relation to disease processes.