In the present investigation, the leaf proteome profile of the macro-mutant lines of Nigella sativa
L. was analyzed to identify the key proteins involved in the expression of traits associated with the morphology, seed yield, and content of thymoquinone. In our earlier study, the macro-mutants were generated with contrasting morphological traits and seed yields through induced mutagenesis, using ethyl methyl sulfonate, gamma rays, and combinations of both. Analysis of the leaf proteome of the control and macro-mutant lines of N. sativa
showed that twenty-three proteins were differentially expressed. These differentially expressed proteins were sequenced through mass spectrometry and identified using the MASCOT software. On the basis of their function, these proteins were categorized into several groups. Most proteins were found in the categories of signal transduction (18%) and carbon metabolism (18%). A total of 13% of proteins belonged to the categories of energy and metabolism. Proteins in the categories of secondary plant metabolism, stress defense, cytoskeleton, and protein synthesis were also found. The polycomb group protein (FIE1), transcription factor (PRE1), and geranyl diphosphate synthase were notable proteins, in addition to some proteins of signal transduction and carbon metabolism. Expression patterns of the differentially expressed proteins were also studied at the transcript level by using qRT-PCR. Transcriptomics analysis was consistent with the proteomics data. This study shows the changes that take place at the proteomic level through induced mutagenesis, as well as the involvement of some proteins in the expression traits associated with plant height, seed yield, and the thymoquinone content of N. sativa
. The identified proteins might help elucidate the metabolic pathways involved in the expression of traits, including seed yield, and the active compounds of medicinal plants.
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