• Fungal infection;
  • Maize embryo;
  • Mass spectrometry;
  • Pathogenesis-related protein;
  • Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis


Pathogen attack on plants results in numerous host-specific biochemical responses, the activation of some of them being critical for the ability of the plant to withstand disease. We have used high-resolution two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) and mass spectrometry to identify proteins that are differentially expressed in response to fungal infection in maize embryos. Differential spots corresponding to induced or repressed proteins were apparent in silver stained 2-DE gels of proteins extracted from sterile and fungal-infected germinating embryos. Selected spots were subjected to tryptic digestion followed by identification using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry and nanospray ion-trap tandem mass spectrometry. Among the proteins induced in response to infection are proteins involved in protein synthesis, or in protein folding and stabilization, as well as proteins involved in oxidative stress tolerance. Additionally, the accumulation of specific pathogenesis-related proteins in tissues of the fungal-infected germinating embryos was studied by 2-DE and immunoblotting.