Korean ginseng is a traditional medicine that is widely used in Korea. In this study, a proteomic approach was used to investigate variations in Korean ginseng isolates that are associated with ecologic and geographic differences. Ginseng samples were collected from four geographically isolated locations in Korea: North gyeonggi, Gochang, Geumsan and Kanghwa. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) and peptide fingerprinting of tryptic digests by mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) revealed primary ginseng root region-specific variations in protein profiles in these distinct areas. Thirty seven (37) major proteins that are common to the main root of ginseng at all four geographic sites and six proteins that are specific to the main root of a local ginseng (Kanghwa) were identified. Most of the major common proteins identified could be classified into the following functional categories: (i) stress response; (ii) transcription and translation; (iii) nucleotide metabolism; (iv) plant hormone response; (v) signal transduction; (vi) protein degradation; (vii) protein destination and storage; and (viii) unassigned. The results show that Korean ginseng species can be distinguished on the basis of classical proteomics.
Key words: Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, 2-DE, peptide fingerprinting, classical proteomics.
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