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Researchers develop protein labeling method to study cellular mechanisms of neurological disorders
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A recent study in Nature Communications, by scientists at Emory University and Georgia Tech researching the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease, describes and validates an innovative protein labeling method recently developed by the researchers.  

The mouse model and experimental strategy called cell type specific in vivo biotinylation of proteins (CIBOP), allows proteins within specific cell types or regions of the brain to be labeled with biotin, a vitamin that is a convenient handle for biochemical analysis. It was created by Emory neurologist Srikant Rangaraju, biochemist Nicholas Seyfried, postdoc Sruti Rayaprolu and other colleagues.

CIBOP provides a formidable method to investigate the role of different brain cell types in neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and beyond, by looking at protein-level changes occurring in each cell type.  

“Proteomic level investigations of specific brain cell types have been extremely challenging due to the need for cell isolation or purification. Our study establishes CIBOP as a powerful and versatile tool for proteomics of specific brain cell types while retaining their native state in mouse models,” says Rangaraju.

Rangaraju says this method can now be applied to other brain cell types such as oligodendrocytes and microglia as well as diverse neuronal sub-types, under normal as well as disease conditions. “We are also particularly excited about CIBOP being applied in several contexts beyond neuroscience.”

In addition to investigators from the Rangaraju lab, the study team includes the Seyfried lab at Emory, and the lab of systems biologist Levi Wood at Georgia Tech. The research was directly supported by several NIH grant awards, including a recent multi-PI R01 grant awarded to the three investigators.

Ongoing studies in the Rangaraju, Seyfried and Wood laboratories are now applying CIBOP to investigate neuronal, microglial and astrocyte specific proteomic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease. By resolving cell type specific contributions to neurological diseases, the long-term goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers of neurological diseases that can be translatable to patients.

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