• donkey milk;
  • αs2-casein;
  • milk allergy;
  • 2D-PAGE

The primary structure of four αs2-casein (CN) isoforms, present as minor components in the dephosphorylated CN fraction of a milk sample collected in Eastern Sicily from an individual donkey belonging to the Ragusano breed at middle lactation stage, was determined, using the known donkey's αs2-CN (GenBank Acc. No. CAV00691; Mr 26 028 Da) as reference. Proteins, with experimentally measured Mr of 25 429, 21 939, 25 203 and 21 713 Da, were isolated by the combined use of reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) and two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The major spot of each gel, corresponding to a single protein, was digested by trypsin, α-chymotrypsin and endoproteinase Glu-C. The resulting peptide mixtures were analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry and capillary RP-HPLC/nano-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry, and the data obtained were used for the sequence determination. The isoforms are produced from differential splicing events involving exons 4, 5 and 6 and parts of the exon 17. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.