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New Method for Cheap, Stable Protein Arrays

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Researchers from the National Cancer Institute, Science Applications International Corporation–Frederick, and the University of North Dakota have developed a new way to create protein microarrays that they say is cheaper, less labor-intensive, and improves the stability and integrity.

Described in PLoS One, the method is based on printing expression-ready plasmid DNA onto slides that can be converted into protein arrays on demand, thereby eliminating the need for antibody or other capture reagents to immobilize newly synthesized proteins onto a microarray surface.

The technology is in its early stages of development and further testing is being done to determine its full functionality. But lead author Deb Chatterjee says that the method he and his colleagues created is the simplest technique yet for making protein microarrays and could help to push the technology out of the shadow of mass spectrometry as a research platform for proteomics work.

While DNA microarrays are commonly used in genomic work, in proteomics and protein research, protein microarrays have trailed mass specs as the technology of choice, though there are signs that the tool may be gaining wider acceptance. In the paper, the authors write that in order to gain further knowledge of protein function, quantitative proteomics, molecular interactions, and protein profiling, the continued development of high-throughput platforms, such as protein microarrays, is necessary.

"Unfortunately, inherent cost and technical limitations, including the required production of large libraries of purified proteins and long-term maintenance of array stability and integrity, have caused protein microarray development to lag behind that of DNA microarrays," the authors say.

According Chatterjee, the instability of the arrays, in particular, has been a major roadblock to wider adoption of the technology.

Tony Fong

Proteomics Notes

BioMerieux and ProteoSys announced a collaboration to develop a prostate cancer test based on Annexin 3. BioMerieux is licensing the right to ProteoSys for a urine diagnostic test, based on the VIDAS immunoassay platform.

Expression Pathology, the Alberta Cancer Board, and the Tom Baker Cancer Center are collaborating to identify protein biomarkers of breast cancer metastasis. The Alberta Cancer Board and Foundation is providing CAD$300,000 in funding.
 
BD and Luminex now have an agreement to develop, market, and sell biomarker-based diagnostic tests for certain cancers using Luminex's multiplexing xMAP technology and the BD Diagnostics-TriPath platform.

Datapoint

$2.3 million
Value of NIH grant to Predictive Physiology & Medicine for a high-throughput testing platform to assess a patient's cardiovascular health.

Funded Grants

$78,500/FY 2008
Computational approaches to protein identification and quantification using MS/MS
Grantee: Predrag Radivojac, University of Indiana
Began: Sep. 15, 2008; Ends: Aug. 31, 2011
Predrag Radivojac will be focusing on developing and evaluating computational methods to see if they improve tandem mass spectrometry data analysis. In the grant abstract, he says that such tools would allow researchers to effectively and efficiently perform biomarker discovery studies, tissue profiling, and studies of drug-induced proteome changes. The software will be made publicly available.

$226,500/FY 2008
Proteomic analysis of synaptic ribbons in the inner ear
Grantee: William Sewell, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Began: Jul. 1, 2008; Ends: Jun. 30, 2010
With this grant, William Sewell will be studying the proteins important for the function of synaptic ribbons found in the inner ear's hair cells in a mouse model. He plans to identify the protein components of the synaptic ribbons and then immunochemically verify them. He says that this project will help researchers figure out the role and function of these synaptic ribbons.

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