Scientists develop novel technology to identify biomarkers for ulcerative colitis

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have developed a novel technology that can identify, in animal models, potential biomarkers of ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the colon.

The study was published October 3, 2012, in the .

The new research focuses on the protein arginine deiminases (PAD), which have been implicated in a number of diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. PADs participate in reactions in the body that form the amino acid citrulline in proteins through a process known as citrullination. This modification can have significant effects on the structure and function of the modified proteins.

While abnormally high PAD activity is present in a host of human diseases, the exact role of citrullination in these diseases remains unknown, largely due to the lack of readily available chemical probes to study it.

"We have developed technology to identify biomarkers for a variety of diseases in which you see abnormal PAD activity," said Paul Thompson, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Scripps Research, who led the study. "This identification of potential biomarkers in animal models of ulcerative colitis is really the first step in a much larger effort. We want to push forward into and cancer to look for different diagnostic markers in these disease situations."

In the new study, the scientists describe a chemical probe called rhodamine‐phenylglyoxal (Rh‐PG), which tags citrulline-containing proteins with a fluorescent imaging compound.

According to Thompson, the next step will be to produce further generations of this to isolate the biomarker proteins and determine their sites of modification, as well as to quantify the extent of the citrullination.

More information: "Seeing Citrulline: Development of a Phenylglyoxal‐Based Probe to Visualize Protein Citrullination," pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja308871v

Related Stories

New biomarkers for predicting the spread of colon cancer

Jan 13, 2010

Scientists in China are reporting discovery of two proteins present in the blood, of people with colon cancer that may serve as the potential biomarkers for accurately predicting whether the disease will spread. ...

Chemist devises new method to quantify protein changes

Jan 06, 2011

A scientist from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute has devised a new method of analyzing and quantifying changes in proteins that result from a common chemical process. The new findings could provide new ...

Recommended for you

New compounds reduce debilitating inflammation

Oct 24, 2014

Six Case Western Reserve scientists are part of an international team that has discovered two compounds that show promise in decreasing inflammation associated with diseases such as ulcerative colitis, arthritis and multiple ...

Asthma risk varies with ethnic ancestry among Latinos

Oct 07, 2014

Native American ancestry is associated with a lower asthma risk, but African ancestry is associated with a higher risk, according to the largest-ever study of how genetic variation influences asthma risk in Latinos, in whom ...

Asthma vaccine discovery

Oct 06, 2014

With asthma now affecting up to one in four New Zealand children, the researchers say this is a promising step in the challenge to understand and control asthma.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.