Data-independent tandem mass spectrometry isolates and fragments all of the molecular species within a given mass-to-charge window, regardless of whether a precursor ion was detected within the window. For shotgun proteomics on complex protein mixtures, data-independent MS/MS offers certain advantages over the traditional data-dependent MS/MS: identification of low-abundance peptides with insignificant precursor peaks; more direct relative quantification, free of biases caused by competing precursors and dynamic exclusion; and faster throughput due to simultaneous fragmentation of multiple peptides. However, data-independent MS/MS, especially on low-resolution ion-trap instruments, strains standard peptide identification programs, because of less precise knowledge of the peptide precursor mass and large numbers of spectra composed of two or more peptides. Here we describe a computer program called DeMux that deconvolves mixture spectra and improves the peptide identification rate by ~25%. We compare the number of identifications made by data-independent and data-dependent MS/MS at the peptide and protein levels: conventional data-dependent MS/MS makes a greater number of identifications but is less reproducible from run to run.
Spherocytosis is one of the most common inherited disorders, yet presents with a wide range of clinical severity. While several genes have been found mutated in patients with spherocytosis, the molecular basis for the variability in severity of haemolytic anaemia is not entirely understood. To identify candidate proteins involved in haemolytic anaemia pathophysiology, we utilized a label-free comparative proteomic approach to detect differences in red blood cells (RBCs) from normal and β-adducin (Add2) knock-out mice. We detected seven proteins that were decreased and 48 proteins that were increased in β-adducin null RBC ghosts. Since haemolytic anaemias are characterized by reticulocytosis, we compared reticulocyte-enriched samples from phenylhydrazine-treated mice with mature RBCs from untreated mice. Among the 48 proteins increased in Add2 knockout RBCs, only 11 were also increased in reticulocytes. Of the proteins decreased in Add2 knockout RBCs, α-adducin showed the greatest intensity difference, followed by SLC9A1, the sodium-hydrogen exchanger previously termed NHE1. We verified these mass spectrometry results by immunoblot. This is the first example of SLC9A1deficiency in haemolytic anaemia and suggests new insights into the mechanisms leading to fragile RBCs.
red blood cell; reticulocyte; adducin; SLC9A1; label-free proteomics
Defining the full complement of substrates for each ubiquitin ligase remains an important challenge. Improvements in mass spectrometry instrumentation and computation and in protein biochemistry methods have resulted in several new methods for ubiquitin ligase substrate identification. Here we used the parallel adapter capture (PAC) proteomics approach to study βTrCP2/FBXW11, a substrate adaptor for the SKP1–CUL1–F-box (SCF) E3 ubiquitin ligase complex. The processivity of the ubiquitylation reaction necessitates transient physical interactions between FBXW11 and its substrates, thus making biochemical purification of FBXW11-bound substrates difficult. Using the PAC-based approach, we inhibited the proteasome to “trap” ubiquitylated substrates on the SCFFBXW11 E3 complex. Comparative mass spectrometry analysis of immunopurified FBXW11 protein complexes before and after proteasome inhibition revealed 21 known and 23 putatively novel substrates. In focused studies, we found that SCFFBXW11 bound, polyubiquitylated, and destabilized RAPGEF2, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor that activates the small GTPase RAP1. High RAPGEF2 protein levels promoted cell-cell fusion and, consequently, multinucleation. Surprisingly, this occurred independently of the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) catalytic activity and of the presence of RAP1. Our data establish new functions for RAPGEF2 that may contribute to aneuploidy in cancer. More broadly, this report supports the continued use of substrate trapping proteomics to comprehensively define targets for E3 ubiquitin ligases. All proteomic data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD001062.
Chronic caloric restriction (CR) and rapamycin inhibit the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, thereby regulating metabolism and suppressing protein synthesis. CR or rapamycin extend murine lifespan and ameliorate many aging-associated disorders; however, the beneficial effects of shorter treatment on cardiac aging are not as well understood. Using a recently developed deuterated-leucine labeling method, we investigated the effect of short-term (10 weeks) CR or rapamycin on the proteomics turnover and remodeling of the aging mouse heart. Functionally, we observed that short-term CR and rapamycin both reversed the pre-existing age-dependent cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction. There was no significant change in the cardiac global proteome (823 proteins) turnover with age, with a median half-life 9.1 days in the 5-month old hearts and 8.8 days in the 27-month old hearts. However, proteome half-lives of old hearts significantly increased after short-term CR (30%) or rapamycin (12%). This was accompanied by attenuation of age-dependent protein oxidative damage and ubiquitination. Quantitative proteomics and pathway analysis revealed an age-dependent decreased abundance of proteins involved in mitochondrial function, electron transport chain, citric acid cycle and fatty acid metabolism as well as increased abundance of proteins involved in glycolysis and oxidative stress response. This age-dependent cardiac proteome remodeling was significantly reversed by short-term CR or rapamycin, demonstrating a concordance with the beneficial effect on cardiac physiology. The metabolic shift induced by rapamycin was confirmed by metabolomic analysis.
caloric restriction; rapamycin; cardiac aging; proteomics; dynamics
We describe the use of a targeted proteomics approach, Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM) mass spectrometry, to detect and assess RNAi-mediated depletion or ‘knockdown’ of specific proteins from human cells and from Drosophila flies. This label-free approach does not require any specific reagents to confirm the depletion of RNAi target protein(s) in unfractionated cell or whole organism extracts. The protocol described here is general, can be developed rapidly and can be multiplexed to detect and measure multiple proteins at once. Furthermore, the methodology can be extended to any tandem mass spectrometer - making it widely accessible. This methodology will be applicable to a wide range of basic science and clinical questions where RNAi-mediated protein depletion needs to be verified, or where differences in relative abundance of target proteins need to be rapidly assessed between samples.
Mass spectrometry; selected reaction monitoring; RNAi
In mass spectrometry based proteomics, data-independent acquisition (DIA) strategies have the ability to acquire a single dataset useful for identification and quantification of detectable peptides in a complex mixture. Despite this, DIA is often overlooked due to noisier data resulting from a typical five to ten fold reduction in precursor selectivity compared to data dependent acquisition or selected reaction monitoring. We demonstrate a multiplexing technique which improves precursor selectivity five-fold.
Data Independent Acquisition; Q-Exactive; Multiplexing; Targeted Proteomics; Shotgun Proteomics
Reversed-phase liquid chromatography is the most commonly used separation method for shotgun proteomics. Nanoflow chromatography has emerged as the preferred chromatography method for its increased sensitivity and separation. Despite its common use, there are a wide range of parameters and conditions used across research groups. These parameters have an effect on the quality of the chromatographic separation, which is critical to maximizing the number of peptide identifications and minimizing ion suppression. Here we examined the relationship between column lengths, gradient lengths, peptide identifications and peptide peak capacity. We found that while longer column and gradients lengths generally increase peptide identifications, the degree of improvement is dependent on both parameters and is diminished at longer column and gradients. Peak capacity, in comparison, showed a more linear increase with column and gradient lengths. We discuss the discrepancy between these two results and some of the considerations that should be taken into account when deciding on the chromatographic conditions for a proteomics experiment.
Shotgun proteomics; nanoflow liquid chromatography; peak capacity
We report an algorithm designed for the calibration of low resolution peptide mass spectra. Our algorithm is implemented in a program called FineTune which corrects systematic mass measurement error in one minute, with no input required besides the mass spectra themselves. The mass measurement accuracy for a set of spectra collected on an LTQ-Velos improved 20-fold from −0.1776 ± 0.0010 m/z to 0.0078 ± 0.0006 m/z after calibration (avg +/− 95% confidence interval). The precision in mass measurement was improved due to the correction of non-linear variation in mass measurement accuracy across the m/z range.
Mass measurement accuracy; shotgun proteomics; linear ion trap
Individual proteomes typically differ from the reference human proteome at ~10,000 single amino acid variants. When viewed at the population scale, this individual variation results in a wide variety of protein sequences. In targeted proteomics experiments, such variability can confound accurate protein quantification. To assist researchers in identifying target peptides with high variability within the human population we have created the Population Variation plug-in for Skyline, which provides easy access to the polymorphisms stored in dbSNP. Given a set of peptides, the tool reports minor allele frequency for common polymorphisms. We highlight the importance of considering genetic variation by applying the tool to public datasets.
MRM/SRM; genetic variation; bioinformatics; dbSNP
We report a method to measure in vivo turnover of four proteins from sequential tracheal aspirates obtained from human newborn infants with respiratory distress syndrome using targeted proteomics. We detected enrichment for all targeted proteins approximately 3 hours from the start of infusion of [5,5,5-2H3] leucine, secretion times that varied from 1.2 to 2.5 hours, and half lives that ranged between 10 and 21 hours. Complement factor B, a component of the alternative pathway of complement activation, had an ~2-fold longer half life than the other three proteins. In addition, the kinetics of mature and carboxy-terminal tryptic peptides from the same protein (surfactant protein B) were not statistically different (p=0.49).
Protein Turnover; Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Selected Reaction Monitoring; SRM; Protein Kinetics; Protein Metabolism
Dietary restriction (DR) increases lifespan and attenuates age-related phenotypes in many organisms; however, the effect of DR on longevity of individuals in genetically heterogeneous populations is not well characterized. Here we describe a large-scale effort to define molecular mechanisms that underlie genotype-specific responses to DR. The effect of DR on lifespan was determined for 166 single-gene deletion strains in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Resulting changes in mean lifespan ranged from a reduction of 79% to an increase of 103%. Vacuolar pH homeostasis, superoxide dismutase activity, and mitochondrial proteostasis were found to be strong determinants of the response to DR. Proteomic analysis of cells deficient in prohibitins revealed induction of a mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mtUPR) which has not previously been described in yeast. Mitochondrial proteotoxic stress in prohibitin mutants was suppressed by DR via reduced cytoplasmic mRNA translation. A similar relationship between prohibitins, the mtUPR, and longevity was also observed in Caenorhabditis elegans. These observations define conserved molecular processes that underlie genotype-dependent effects of DR that may be important modulators of DR in higher organisms.
aging; replicative lifespan; longevity; yeast; dietary restriction; mitochondria; mitochondrial unfolded protein response
Homocysteinylation of lysine residues by homocysteine thiolactone (HCTL), a reactive homocysteine metabolite, results in protein aggregation and malfunction, and is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular, autoimmune and neurological diseases. Human plasma paraoxonase-1 (PON1) and bleomycin hydrolase (Blmh) have been reported as the physiological HCTL detoxifying enzymes. However, the catalytic efficiency of HCTL hydrolysis by Blmh is low and not saturated at 20 mM HCTL. The catalytic efficiency of PON1 for HCTL hydrolysis is 100-fold lower than that of Blmh. A homocysteine thiolactonase (HCTLase) was purified from human liver and identified by mass spectrometry (MS) as the previously described human biphenyl hydrolase-like protein (BPHL). To further characterize this newly described HCTLase activity, BPHL was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. The sequence of the recombinant BPHL (rBPHL) and hydrolytic products of the substrates HCTL and valacyclovir were verified by MS. We found that the catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km) of rBPHL for HCTL hydrolysis was 7.7 × 104 M−1s−1, orders of magnitude higher than that of PON1 or Blmh, indicating a more significant physiological role for BPHL in detoxifying HCTL.
We report the implementation of front-end higher energy collision induced dissociation (fHCD) on a bench-top dual pressure linear ion trap. Software and hardware modifications were employed, described in detail vide-infra, to allow isolated ions to undergo collisions with ambient gas molecules in an intermediate multipole (q00) of the instrument. Results comparing the performance of fHCD and resonance excitation collision induced dissociation (RE-CID) in terms of injection time, total number of scans, efficiency, mass measurement accuracy (MMA), unique peptide identifications, and spectral quality of labile modified peptides are presented. fHCD is approximately 23% as efficient as RE-CID and, depending on the search algorithm, it identifies 6.6% more or 15% less peptides (q<0.01) from a soluble whole-cell lysate (Caenorhabditis elegans) than RE-CID using Mascot or Sequest search algorithms, respectively. fHCD offers a clear advantage for the analysis of phosphorylated and glycosylated (O-GlcNAc) peptides as the average cross-correlation score (XCorr) for spectra using fHCD was statistically greater (p<0.05) than for spectra collected using RE-CID.
Virions of the RPV strain of Cereal yellow dwarf virus-RPV were purified from infected oat tissue and analysed by MS. Two conserved residues, K147 and K181, in the virus coat protein, were confidently identified to contain epsilon-N-acetyl groups. While no functional data are available for K147, K181 lies within an interfacial region critical for virion assembly and stability. The signature immonium ion at m/z 126.0919 demonstrated the presence of N-acetyllysine, and the sequence fragment ions enabled an unambiguous assignment of the epsilon-N-acetyl modification on K181. We hypothesize that selection favours acetylation of K181 in a fraction of coat protein monomers to stabilize the capsid by promoting intermonomer salt bridge formation.
Filter aided sample preparation (FASP) and a new sample preparation method using a modified commercial SDS removal spin column are quantitatively compared in terms of their performance for shotgun proteomic experiments in three complex proteomic samples: a Saccharomyces cerevisiae lysate (insoluble fraction), a Caenorhabditis elegans lysate (soluble fraction), and a human embryonic kidney cell line (HEK293T). The characteristics and total number of peptides and proteins identified are compared between the two procedures. The SDS spin column procedure affords a conservative 4-fold improvement in throughput, is more reproducible, less expensive (i.e., requires less materials), and identifies between 30–107% more peptides at a q≤0.01, than the FASP procedure. The peptides identified by SDS spin column are more hydrophobic than species identified by the FASP procedure as indicated by the distribution of GRAVY scores. Ultimately, these improvements correlate to as great as a 50% increase in protein identifications with 2 or more peptides.
Bottom-up proteomics; shotgun proteomics; protein identifications; sample preparation protocols; sodium dodecyl sulfate
We investigated the protective effects of mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant and protective peptides, SS31 and SS20, on cardiac function, proteomic remodeling and signaling pathways.
Methods and Results
We applied an improved label-free shotgun proteomics approach to evaluate the global proteomics changes in transverse aortic constriction (TAC) induced heart failure, and the associated signaling pathway changes using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). We found 538 proteins significantly changed after TAC, which mapped to 53 pathways. The top pathways were in the categories of actin cytoskeleton, mitochondrial function, intermediate metabolism, glycolysis / gluconeogenesis and citrate cycle. Concomitant treatment with SS31 ameliorated the congestive heart failure phenotypes and mitochondrial damage induced by TAC, in parallel with global attenuation of mitochondrial proteome changes, with an average of 84% protection of mitochondrial and 69% of non-mitochondrial protein changes. This included significant amelioration of All the IPA pathways noted above. SS20 had only modest effects on heart failure and this tracked with only partial attenuation of global proteomics changes; furthermore, while actin cytoskeleton pathways were significantly protected in SS20, mitochondrial and metabolic pathways essentially were not.
This study elucidates the signaling pathways significantly changed in pressure-overload induced heart failure. The global attenuation of TAC-induced proteomic alterations by the mitochondrial targeted peptide SS-31 suggests that perturbed mitochondrial function may be an upstream signal to many of pathway alterations in TAC and supports the potential clinical application of mitochondrial-targeted peptide drugs for the treatment heart failure.
heart failure; mitochondria; proteomics; signal transduction
Organophosphorus (OP) compounds include a broad group of toxic chemicals such as insecticides, chemical warfare agents and antiwear agents. The liver cytochromes P450 bioactivate many OPs to potent inhibitors of serine hydrolases. Cholinesterases were the first OP targets discovered and are the most studied. They are used to monitor human exposures to OP compounds. However, the assay that is currently used has limitations. The mechanism of action of OP compounds is the inhibition of serine hydrolases by covalently modifying their active-site serine. After structural rearrangement, the complex OP inhibitor-enzyme is irreversible and will remain in circulation until the modified enzyme is degraded. Mass spectrometry is a sensitive technology for analyzing protein modifications, such as OP-adducted enzymes. These analyses also provide some information about the nature of the OP adduct. Our aim is to develop high-throughput protocols for monitoring OP exposures using mass spectrometry.
Organophosphates; Mass spectrometry; Protein adducts; Butyrylcholinesterase
Abalone, a broadcast spawning marine mollusk, is an important model for molecular interactions and positive selection in fertilization, but the focus has previously been on only two sperm proteins, lysin and sp18.We used genomic and proteomic techniques to bring new insights to this model by characterizing the testis transcriptome and sperm proteome of the Red abalone Haliotis rufescens. One pair of homologous, testis-specific proteins contains a secretion signal and is small, abundant, and associated with the acrosome. Comparative analysis revealed that homologs are extremely divergent between species, and show strong evidence for positive selection. The acrosomal localization and rapid evolution of these proteins indicates that they play an important role in fertilization, and could be involved in the species-specificity of sperm-egg interactions in abalone. Our genomic and proteomic characterization of abalone fertilization resulted in the identification of interesting, novel peptides that have eluded detection in this important model system for 20 years.
Chronic caloric restriction (CR) and rapamycin inhibit the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, thereby regulating metabolism and suppressing protein synthesis. Caloric restriction or rapamycin extends murine lifespan and ameliorates many aging-associated disorders; however, the beneficial effects of shorter treatment on cardiac aging are not as well understood. Using a recently developed deuterated-leucine labeling method, we investigated the effect of short-term (10 weeks) CR or rapamycin on the proteomics turnover and remodeling of the aging mouse heart. Functionally, we observed that short-term CR and rapamycin both reversed the pre-existing age-dependent cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction. There was no significant change in the cardiac global proteome (823 proteins) turnover with age, with a median half-life 9.1 days in the 5-month-old hearts and 8.8 days in the 27-month-old hearts. However, proteome half-lives of old hearts significantly increased after short-term CR (30%) or rapamycin (12%). This was accompanied by attenuation of age-dependent protein oxidative damage and ubiquitination. Quantitative proteomics and pathway analysis revealed an age-dependent decreased abundance of proteins involved in mitochondrial function, electron transport chain, citric acid cycle, and fatty acid metabolism as well as increased abundance of proteins involved in glycolysis and oxidative stress response. This age-dependent cardiac proteome remodeling was significantly reversed by short-term CR or rapamycin, demonstrating a concordance with the beneficial effect on cardiac physiology. The metabolic shift induced by rapamycin was confirmed by metabolomic analysis.
caloric restriction; cardiac aging; dynamics; proteomics; rapamycin
Statistical process control (SPC) is a robust set of tools that aids in the visualization, detection, and identification of assignable causes of variation in any process that creates products, services, or information. A tool has been developed termed Statistical Process Control in Proteomics (SProCoP) which implements aspects of SPC (e.g., control charts and Pareto analysis) into the Skyline proteomics software. It monitors five quality control metrics in a shotgun or targeted proteomic workflow. None of these metrics require peptide identification. The source code, written in the R statistical language, runs directly from the Skyline interface which supports the use of raw data files from several of the mass spectrometry vendors. It provides real time evaluation of the chromatographic performance (e.g., retention time reproducibility, peak asymmetry, and resolution); and mass spectrometric performance (targeted peptide ion intensity and mass measurement accuracy for high resolving power instruments) via control charts. Thresholds are experiment- and instrument-specific and are determined empirically from user-defined quality control standards that enable the separation of random noise and systematic error. Finally, Pareto analysis provides a summary of performance metrics and guides the user to metrics with high variance. The utility of these charts to evaluate proteomic experiments is illustrated in two case studies.
Quality Control; Statistical Process Control; Proteomics; Mass Spectrometry; Shewhart Control Charts
High field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) has been used increasingly in recent years as an additional method of ion separation and selection prior to mass spectrometry. The FAIMS electrodes are relatively simple to design and fabricate for laboratories wishing to implement their own FAIMS designs. However, construction of the electronics apparatus needed to produce the required high magnitude asymmetric electric field oscillating at a frequency of several hundred kilohertz is not trivial. Here we present an entirely custom-built electronics setup capable of supplying the required waveforms and voltages. The apparatus is relatively simple and inexpensive to implement. We also present data acquired on this system demonstrating the use of FAIMS as a gas phase ion filter interface to an ion trap mass spectrometer.
Multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) has recently become the method of choice for targeted quantitative measurement of proteins using mass spectrometry. The method, however, is limited in the number of peptides that can be measured in one run. This number can be markedly increased by scheduling the acquisition if the accurate retention time (RT) of each peptide is known.
Here we present iRT, an empirically derived dimensionless peptide-specific value that allows for highly accurate RT prediction. The iRT of a peptide is a fixed number relative to a standard set of reference iRT-peptides that can be transferred across laboratories and chromatographic systems.
We show that iRT facilitates the setup of multiplexed experiments with acquisition windows more than 4 times smaller compared to in silico RT predictions resulting in improved quantification accuracy. iRTs can be determined by any laboratory and shared transparently. The iRT concept has been implemented in Skyline, the most widely used software for MRM experiments.
Mass spectrometry; multiplexing; proteomics methods; optimization; quantitative analysis
We describe a method to measure protein synthesis and catabolism in humans without prior purification and use the method to measure the turnover of surfactant protein-B (SP-B). SP-B, a lung-specific, hydrophobic protein essential for fetal-neonatal respiratory transition, is present in only picomolar quantities in tracheal aspirate samples and difficult to isolate for dynamic turnover studies using traditional in vivo tracer techniques. Using infusion of [5,5,5-2H3] leucine and a targeted proteomics method, we measured both the quantity and kinetics of SP-B tryptic peptides in tracheal aspirate samples of symptomatic newborn infants. The fractional synthetic rate (FSR) of SP-B measured using the most abundant proteolytic fragment, a 10 amino acid peptide from the carboxy-terminus of proSP-B (SPTGEWLPR), from the circulating leucine pool was 0.035±0.005 hr−1 and fractional catabolic rate was 0.044±0.003 hr−1. This technique permits high-throughput, sensitive measurement of turnover of low abundance proteins with minimal sample preparation.
Hardklör and Krönik are software tools for feature detection and data reduction of high resolution mass spectra. Hardklör is used to reduce peptide isotope distributions to a single monoisotopic mass and charge state, and can deconvolve overlapping peptide isotope distributions. Krönik filters, validates, and summarizes peptide features identified with Hardklör from data obtained during liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Both software tools contain a simple user interface and can be run from nearly any desktop computer. These tools are freely available from http://proteome.gs.washington.edu/software/hardklor.
proteomics; mass spectrometry; liquid chromatography; high resolution; feature detection; deisotoping; peptide isotope distribution
Understanding the genetic basis of reproductive isolation promises insight into speciation and the origins of biological diversity. While progress has been made in identifying genes underlying barriers to reproduction that function after fertilization (post-zygotic isolation), we know much less about earlier acting pre-zygotic barriers. Of particular interest are barriers involved in mating and fertilization that can evolve extremely rapidly under sexual selection, suggesting they may play a prominent role in the initial stages of reproductive isolation. A significant challenge to the field of speciation genetics is developing new approaches for identification of candidate genes underlying these barriers, particularly among non-traditional model systems. We employ powerful proteomic and genomic strategies to study the genetic basis of conspecific pollen precedence, an important component of pre-zygotic reproductive isolation among yellow monkeyflowers (Mimulus spp.) resulting from male pollen competition. We use isotopic labeling in combination with shotgun proteomics to identify more than 2,000 male function (pollen tube) proteins within maternal reproductive structures (styles) of M. guttatus flowers where pollen competition occurs. We then sequence array-captured pollen tube exomes from a large outcrossing population of M. guttatus, and identify those genes with evidence of selective sweeps or balancing selection consistent with their role in pollen competition. We also test for evidence of positive selection on these genes more broadly across yellow monkeyflowers, because a signal of adaptive divergence is a common feature of genes causing reproductive isolation. Together the molecular evolution studies identify 159 pollen tube proteins that are candidate genes for conspecific pollen precedence. Our work demonstrates how powerful proteomic and genomic tools can be readily adapted to non-traditional model systems, allowing for genome-wide screens towards the goal of identifying the molecular basis of genetically complex traits.
Barriers to reproduction are necessary for generating new species. Little is known about the genes underlying reproductive barriers, particularly those that function prior to fertilization, but their identity is of great interest as they offer insight into the genetic mechanisms and evolutionary forces generating biological diversity. In this work, we use an emerging plant model system for speciation studies (yellow monkeyflowers, species of Mimulus) to identify genes that might influence the relative competitive abilities of male pollen from the same versus different species within the maternal flower's style. This is a common reproductive barrier among plant taxa known as conspecific pollen precedence (CPP), and is analogous to sperm competition during animal fertilization. We first identify the pollen proteins that are found within the style where pollen competition occurs, and then screen these for evidence that may indicate which genes have been targets of pollen competition (a form of sexual selection among individuals of a population) or adaptive diversification among species of yellow monkeyflowers (a common feature of genes underlying reproductive barriers). Our evolutionary analyses identify 159 candidates that may function in reproductive isolation of yellow monkeyflowers, and provide some of the first broad perspectives on evolution of plant reproductive genes.