Investigative proteomics: Identification of an unknown plant virus from infected plants using mass spectrometry

Bret Cooper, Donna Eckert, Nancy L. Andon*, John R. Yates, Paul A. Haynes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the identification of a previously uncharacterized plant virus that is capable of infecting Nicotiana spp. and Arabidopsis thaliana. Protein extracts were first prepared from leaf tissue of uninfected tobacco plants, and the proteins were visualized with two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE). Matching gels were then run using protein extracts of a tobacco plant infected with tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). After visual comparison, the proteins spots that were differentially expressed in infected plant tissues were cut from the gels and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). Tandem mass spectrometry data of individual peptides was searched with SEQUEST. Using this approach we demonstrated a successful proof-of-concept experiment by identifying TMV proteins present in the total protein extract. The same procedure was then applied to tobacco plants infected with a laboratory viral isolate of unknown identity. Several of the differentially expressed protein spots were identified as proteins of potato virus X (PVX), thus successfully identifying the causative agent of the uncharacterized viral infection. We believe this demonstrates that HPLC-MS/MS can be used to successfully characterize unknown viruses in infected plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-741
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigative proteomics: Identification of an unknown plant virus from infected plants using mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this