Yilmaz, O., Patinote, A., Nguyen, T.V., Com, E., Lavigne, R., Pineau, C., Sullivan, C.V., Bobe, J. (2017) Scrambled eggs: Proteomic portraits and novel biomarkers of egg quality in zebrafish (Danio rerio). PLoS One. 12:e0188084.
Egg quality is a complex biological trait and a major determinant of reproductive fitness in all animals. This study delivered the first proteomic portraits of egg quality in zebrafish, a leading biomedical model for early development. Egg batches of good and poor quality, evidenced by embryo survival for 24 h, were sampled immediately after spawning and used to create pooled or replicated sample sets whose protein extracts were subjected to different levels of fractionation before liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Obtained spectra were searched against a zebrafish proteome database and detected proteins were annotated, categorized and quantified based on normalized spectral counts. Manually curated and automated enrichment analyses revealed poor quality eggs to be deficient of proteins involved in protein synthesis and energy and lipid metabolism, and of some vitellogenin products and lectins, and to have a surfeit of proteins involved in endo-lysosomal activities, autophagy, and apoptosis, and of some oncogene products, lectins and egg envelope proteins. Results of pathway and network analyses suggest that this aberrant proteomic profile results from failure of oocytes giving rise to poor quality eggs to properly transit through final maturation, and implicated Wnt signaling in the etiology of this defect. Quantitative comparisons of abundant proteins in good versus poor quality eggs revealed 17 candidate egg quality markers. Thus, the zebrafish egg proteome is clearly linked to embryo developmental potential, a phenomenon that begs further investigation to elucidate the root causes of poor egg quality, presently a serious and intractable problem in livestock and human reproductive medicine.