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Proxeon A/S. (5/5/09). "Press Release: EASY-nLC Enables Discovery of Oldest Protein Sequences Ever Acquired". Odense.

Organisations Organisation Proxeon A/S
  Today Thermo Fisher (Group)
  Group Thermo Fisher (Group)
  Organisation 2 Harvard Medical School, Mass Spectrometry Core Facility
  Group Harvard University
Products Product EASY-nLC nanoscale LC system
  Product 2 LTQ Orbitrap XL™ mass spectrometer
  Index term 2 Harvard Univ–Thermo Fisher: mass spectrometer, –200807– supply existent LTQ Orbitrap XL mass spectrometer at HMS Mass Spectrometry Core
Persons Person Asara, John M. (Harvard Univ 200807 Director Mass Spec Core Facility Harvard Medical School)
  Person 2 Winge, Mårten (Doxa AB 201110– CEO before Proxeon CEO)

Proxeon's EASY-nLCTM, together with a Thermo Orbitrap XL, has been used to successfully analyze ancient protein dating back 80 million years. The LC-MS set-up, situated in the laboratory of Dr. John Asara, Director of the Mass Spectrometry Core at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has provided new evidence to support the concept of protein preservation across geological time and to suggest that birds and dinosaurs are evolutionarily related.

Until recently, it had been assumed that proteins in fossil remains would be converted to minerals within 1 million years. In collaboration with the North Carolina State University, Dr. Asara has demonstrated the presence of amino acids in bones from a tyrannosaur, Tyrannosaurus rex, and, more recently, a hadrosaur, Brachylophosaurus Canadensis.

These represent the oldest protein sequences ever acquired and enable an evolutionary tree to be based on molecular sequence data. The study showed that from 8 total peptide sequences (149 amino acids), B. canadensis can be phylogenetically placed with T. rex, close to birds (chicken and ostrich) and slightly further from reptiles (alligator and lizard). Previously, all phylogenetic comparisons were performed using only bone architecture.

Dr. Asara explained: "We identified nearly double the number of amino acids in the B. canadensis specimen as we recovered in an earlier T. rex study. The sequences displayed high spectral quality and the interpretations were of high confidence."

Although the LC-MS equipment at BIDMC is used primarily for cancer research studies, Dr Asara continued: "We were able to achieve these results, in part, as a consequence of optimizing our LC-MS set-up for cancer research. This set-up is now capable of performing at a similar concentration range - low to sub femtomole - as that needed for ancient fossil protein sequencing. We hope to meet with similar success when it comes to identifying novel signaling proteins from cancerous tissues."

Mårten Winge, Proxeon's CEO, commented: "The EASY-nLC has been selected by several major MS suppliers as their system of choice to ensure optimal LC-MS performance. It is satisfying to see that Dr. Asara's experience supports their decision and fascinating to see how our system is making a significant contribution in such fields as diverse as cancer research and palaeontology,"

Details of Dr. Asara's work were published on May 1, 2009 in Science Magazine.

For more information, please contact Proxeon:
Mårten Winge, M.Sc.,
CEO, Proxeon A/S E-mail:
Tel.: +45 2633 2020 Fax: +45 6557 2301

Record changed: 2016-03-19


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