Emerging proteomic approaches to identify the underlying pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders
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Proteomics is the large-scale study of the total protein content and their overall function within a cell through multiple facets of research. Advancements in proteomic methods have moved past the simple quantification of proteins to the identification of post-translational modifications (PTMs) and the ability to probe interactions between these proteins, spatially and temporally. Increased sensitivity and resolution of mass spectrometers and sample preparation protocols have drastically reduced the large amount of cells required and the experimental variability that had previously hindered its use in studying human neurological disorders. Proteomics offers a new perspective to study the altered molecular pathways and networks that are associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The differences between the transcriptome and proteome, combined with the various types of post-translation modifications that regulate protein function and localization, highlight a novel level of research that has not been appropriately investigated. In this review, we will discuss strategies using proteomics to study ASD and other neurological disorders, with a focus on how these approaches can be combined with induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) studies. Proteomic analysis of iPSC-derived neurons have already been used to measure changes in the proteome caused by patient mutations, analyze changes in PTMs that resulted in altered biological pathways, and identify potential biomarkers. Further advancements in both proteomic techniques and human iPSC differentiation protocols will continue to push the field towards better understanding ASD disease pathophysiology. Proteomics using iPSC-derived neurons from individuals with ASD offers a window for observing the altered proteome, which is necessary in the future development of therapeutics against specific targets.
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