Human milk is a rich source of bioactive proteins that support the early growth and development of the newborn. Although the major components of the protein fraction in human milk have been studied, the expression and relative abundance of minor components have received limited attention. We examined the expression of low-abundance proteins in the whey fraction of human milk and their dynamic changes over a twelve-month lactation period. The low-abundance proteins were enriched by ProteoMiner beads, and protein identification was performed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. One hundred and fifteen proteins were identified, thirty-eight of which have not been previously reported in human colostrum or milk. We also for the first time described differences in protein patterns among the low-abundance proteins during lactation. These results enhance our knowledge about the complexity of the human milk proteome, which constitutes part of the advantages to the breast-fed infant.
- human milk
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