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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Proteomic Approaches for Studying Alcoholism and Alcohol-Induced Organ Damage

Proteomics research is concerned with the analysis of all proteins found in an organism, tissue, cell type, or cellular structure. The shotgun proteomic approach, which involves two-dimensional gel electrophoresis or liquid chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (MS), is used to identify novel proteins affected by alcohol. More targeted analyses study protein–protein interactions using such techniques as the yeast two-hybrid system, affinity chromatography, or immunoprecipitation. Finally, proteomic strategies can be combined with genomic research findings using computer analyses (i.e., in silico).

 All of these approaches have been used in the alcohol field. These studies have identified proteins in various brain regions whose expression is affected by alcohol. Other investigators have used proteomic approaches to identify proteins that could serve as potential biomarkers of alcohol use.

Finally, interaction proteomic analyses have begun to identify proteins involved in several nerve signaling networks in the brain, which then can serve as targets for further studies on alcohol’s effects. Future proteomic studies likely will shed more light on the mechanisms underlying alcohol’s actions on the body.

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