Method to Identify Modified Protein Structures has Diagnostic Potential for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Researchers from the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland and University of Padua, Italy, have developed a new technique to identify conformational changes in proteins in complex biological samples, such as blood or cerebrospinal fluid. This method could eventually be developed into a diagnostic tool for ALS and other diseases associated with misfolded proteins (see Dec 2012 news story, Nov 2013 news story). The technique, published September 14 online in Nature Biotechnology, integrates proteolysis with proteomic methods co-developed by study senior author Paula Picotti. In the future, this method could be used to develop new biomarkers that measure changes in the structure of critical proteins and the ratio between normal and pathogenic forms as disease progresses. Click here to read more about this novel technique and its potential applications for neurodegenerative disease.

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