Proteomics: Finding the key ingredients of disease

May 19, 2009

The winner of the chilli cook-off, usually has a key secret ingredient, which is hard to identify. Similarly, many diseases have crucial proteins, which change the dynamics of cells from benign to deadly.

New findings from an international collaboration, involving McGill University, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO) just made identifying these changes one step easier. Their findings published in , show how to improve analysis to tease out relevant potential disease-causing molecules.

"Proteomics is the field that singles out the few significant proteins from the hundreds that may be present in a diagnostic sample," says co-author and recent new recruit of the Research Institute of the MUHC and of McGill Unversity, Dr. Tommy Nilsson. "It is important to associate the correct proteins with the correct condition. This process is incredibly complex. The aim of our study was to benchmark current analysis techniques worldwide and to identify potential bottlenecks."

Putting them to the test

Twenty-seven labs worldwide were sent a standard sample of proteins to analyse using their usual techniques. Only seven of the 27 participating labs were accurate in detecting all the proteins and in the more challenging part of the study, only one lab succeeded. However, further analysis of their raw data, showed that all the proteins had been initially detected by all the labs involved but they had been rejected in later analyses.

"Our centralized analysis showed us the problems encountered while conducting this type of testing," says Dr. John Bergeron, senior author from McGill University and HUPO. "We found that a major contributing factor to erroneous reporting is at the level. We expect once databases and search engines improve, the accuracy of reporting will as well."

Importance of proteomics

The goal of proteomics is to characterise all the proteins that are encoded from human DNA, similar to how all genes were identified as a result of the Human Genome Project. It is expected that proteomics will accelerate the identification of cause of many human diseases and that improved diagnosis and therapy will emerge using proteomic techniques.

"The new technology described in our paper will potentially enable clinicians to determine the causes of disease," adds Dr. Bergeron.

Source: McGill University Health Centre (news : web)

Explore further: US scientists make embryonic stem cells from adult skin

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers map 'gene switches' within the human genome

Apr 10, 2006

Researchers have released a "map" of regions in the human genome that work as "switches" for turning genes on and off. The discovery, made by researchers from McGill University, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal ...

Tiny genetic differences have huge consequences

Jan 19, 2008

A study led by McGill University researchers has demonstrated that small differences between individuals at the DNA level can lead to dramatic differences in the way genes produce proteins. These, in turn, are responsible ...

Plant steroids offer new paradigm for how hormones work

Jul 24, 2008

Steroids bulk up plants just as they do human athletes, but the playbook of molecular signals that tell the genes to boost growth and development in plant cells is far more complicated than in human and animal cells. A new ...

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.