Proteome analysis of propolis deciphering the origin and function of its proteins

Youcef Shahali*, Stephanie Kler, Dominique Revets, Sebastien Planchon, Céline C. Leclercq, Jenny Renaut, Raheleh Shokouhi Shoormasti, Zahra Pourpak, Markus Ollert, Christiane Hilger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Propolis is a resinous honeybee product, rich in polyphenolic compounds and with high economic value. Although extensive studies regarding the chemical composition of different propolis extracts have been carried out, the propolis proteome remained unknown. The present study aimed at characterizing the proteome of two geographically-distinct propolis originating from Belgium and Iran. Propolis extracts were analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel (SDS-PAGE) followed by Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization – Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and Liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization MS (LC-ESI-MS) analyses. Our comprehensive proteomic analysis led to the identification of honeybee venom and royal jelly proteins, and numerous plant-defense proteins in propolis, extending our understanding of the antimicrobial properties of this complex natural substance. The proteome of both propolis was mainly made up of proteins belonging to the poplar tree. Pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins, poplar PR-2 (β-1,3-glucanases) and PR-8 (acidic endochitinases) were found to be the major components of both propolis extracts, while the major bee venom allergen (Api m 1) and royal jelly proteins (MJRP 1, 2, 3 and 5) were identified in the propolis from Belgium. Overall, our proteome analyses revealed that propolis extracts from Belgium and Iran shared a core protein composition originating from the poplar proteome. The majority of identified proteins are involved in the plant defense against pathogens, most belonging to well-known pathogenesis-related families. Proteomics could thus represent a viable approach for origin authentication and allergen identification in poplar-type propolis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105869
JournalJournal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Honeybee venom
  • Pathogenesis-related protein
  • Poplar
  • Propolis
  • Proteomics


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