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Fields & Applications Proteomics

The Synapse Secret(ome)

Using a new “ultra-definition” method, a team of researchers has managed to more than treble the number of synaptic proteins identified in the brain (1). Scientists had already discovered a number of proteins associated with synaptic vesicles – the small, sac-like components that deliver neurotransmitters between neurons – but a large proportion of low-abundance proteins were thought to be slipping through the net. 

With the goal of uncovering more of this “hidden proteome,” the team began by introducing enzymes that target two different cleavage sites, followed by separation of the resulting peptides by electrostatic repulsion-hydrophilic interaction chromatography. Conventional reverse-phase chromatography was also used, along with MS for identification. Using their new approach, the team managed to identify 1,466 proteins – more than three times that of previous studies. The new approach could aid in future investigations into neurological disorders.  

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  1. Z Taoufiq et al., PNAS, 117, 33586 (2020). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2011870117
About the Author
Lauren Robertson

By the time I finished my degree in Microbiology I had come to one conclusion – I did not want to work in a lab. Instead, I decided to move to the south of Spain to teach English. After two brilliant years, I realized that I missed science, and what I really enjoyed was communicating scientific ideas – whether that be to four-year-olds or mature professionals. On returning to England I landed a role in science writing and found it combined my passions perfectly. Now at Texere, I get to hone these skills every day by writing about the latest research in an exciting, creative way.

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