Computational Methods on Study of Differentially Expressed Proteins in Maize Proteomes Associated with Resistance to Aflatoxin Accumulation
CommitteeWilliams, W. Paul
Perkins, Andy D.
Plant breeders have focused on improving maize resistance to Aspergillus flavus infection and aflatoxin accumulation by breeding with genotypes having the desirable traits. Various maize inbred lines have been developed for the breeding of resistance. Identification of differentially expressed proteins among such maize inbred lines will facilitate the development of gene markers and expedite the breeding process. Computational biology and proteomics approaches on the investigation of differentially expressed proteins were explored in this research. The major research objectives included 1) application of computational methods in homology and comparative modeling to study 3D protein structures and identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) involved in changes of protein structures and functions, which can in turn increase the efficiency of the development of DNA markers; 2) investigation of methods on total protein profiling including purification, separation, visualization, and computational analysis at the proteome level. Special research goals were set on the development of open source computational methods using Matlab image processing tools to quantify and compare protein expression levels visualized by 2D protein electrophoresis gel techniques.