Protein catalogs containing a large number of proteins expressed in a variety of organs can be powerful tools for stem-cell research, because this requires accurate knowledge about how cells differentiate. Salivary gland progenitor (SGP) cells are somatic stem cells isolated from the salivary gland that can differentiate into hepatic or pancreatic cell lineages. Their differentiation state has been assessed by the expression of major protein markers, but to use these cells in regenerative medicine, it will be necessary to establish additional means of quality assessment. We examined the use of shotgun proteomics for porcine salivary gland (a source of SGP cells) and liver (a destination of differentiated SGP cells) for determining the state of SGP cell differentiation. Protein complexes from each organ were digested into peptides and separated by two-dimensional liquid chromatography involving strong cation-exchange chromatography followed by reversed-phase liquid chromatography. The separated peptides were analyzed by on-line electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry using a quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometer (ESI Q-TOF MS/MS), and the spectra obtained were processed to search peptides against a mammalian database for protein identification. Using this method, we identified 117 proteins in porcine salivary gland and 154 proteins in porcine liver. Of these, 72 and 109 were specific to salivary gland and liver, respectively, and some of these were previously shown to be organ specific. The current study can be utilized in the future as a basis to study the pattern of differentiation in protein expression by stem cells.
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