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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Biological Sciences
Medical School
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

PI: Ian M. Armitage

Structure/Function of Biomolecules; NMR-Based Differential Metabolic Profiling of Extracts From Brain Cells and Saliva

These researchers used MSI resources for two projects during this period. In the first, they use multi-nuclear/dimensional NMR methods to forge new inroads into the following areas: the structure and metal exchange properties of proteins involved in the maintenance of metal homeostasis in vivo; structural/functional studies of select molecules involved in Alzheimer’s disease; and the structure, dynamics, and mechanism of activation of specific zinc finger DNA transcription factors upon zinc binding. The researchers use the BSCL to process the multidimensional NMR datasets, to calculate the three-dimensional structures of the biomolecules, and to visualize those calculated structures.

The second project has two components: use of NMR methods for metabolic profiling in neurological disorders that involve differentially activated microglia and astrocytes, and use of NMR to compare a set of nociceptive-relevant salivary biomarkers from a clinical sample of pediatric patients with cerebral palsy (CP) with and without pain.

In the former study, this research brings together two Academic Health Center Centers of Excellence to apply proton NMR spectroscopy of cell culture extracts to distinguish the metabolic profile of microglia from that of astrocytes in both their quiescent and activated states. Successful completion of this ex vivo characterization would stage the University research community well for NIH support of follow-up in vivo spectroscopy of murine models of central nervous system disorders to track the temporal sequence of glial activation. These studies will in turn support the eventual development of noninvasive NMR metabolomic profiling of patients with neurologic disorders. The latter study has just been launched in collaboration with researchers in Educational Psychology and Gillette Hospital. Both of these projects make extensive use of the Chenomx software in BSCL for the assignment of the metabolite 1H NMR spectra.

Group Members

Issam El Ghazi, Research Associate
Brian Reilly, Undergraduate Student