Proteomics of copper effects in Ronaldsay sheep

Simpson, D.M., Beynon, R.J., Robertson, D.H.L., Loughran, M.J. & Haywood, S. (2004) Copper associated liver disease: a proteomics study of copper challenge in a sheep model. Proteomics 4, 524-536. [PUBMED] [PDF]

Sheep display a variant phenotype with respect to their susceptibility to copper and derivative pathology. The North Ronaldsay sheep are acutely sensitive to environmental copper while the Cambridge breed is much more copper-tolerant. A study of protein expression in the liver of the two different breeds of sheep as a result of copper challenge would aid in the understanding of their differing pathophysiologies and contribute to knowledge of copper toxicosis in man. In this initial study, Cambridge breed sheep were challenged with oral copper and liver proteins were analyzed by two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis. Proteins whose expression pattern was modified by copper exposure were then identified by peptide mass fingerprinting using matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. In conclusion, the pattern of changes in protein expression were consistent with an early adaptive response to oxidative challenge. This was followed by evidence of an impaired ability of the liver to compensate as copper loading increased, accompanied by oxidative stress-induced injury.