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

date 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

date 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

Severe asthma fails to respond to mainstay treatment

date 16 hours ago

The immune response that occurs in patients with severe asthma is markedly different than what occurs in milder forms of the lung condition, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School ...

New hope for patients with chronic wounds

date 16 hours ago

Most wounds clear up by themselves, but some fail to heal and become chronic. An international team of researchers led from Karolinska Institutet, now unveil the important role of so-called microRNAs in regulating skin wound ...

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.