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1.  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Multiprotein Biomarkers in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25545.
Background
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal progressive motor neuron disease, for which there are still no diagnostic/prognostic test and therapy. Specific molecular biomarkers are urgently needed to facilitate clinical studies and speed up the development of effective treatments.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We used a two-dimensional difference in gel electrophoresis approach to identify in easily accessible clinical samples, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), a panel of protein biomarkers that are closely associated with ALS. Validations and a longitudinal study were performed by immunoassays on a selected number of proteins. The same proteins were also measured in PBMC and spinal cord of a G93A SOD1 transgenic rat model. We identified combinations of protein biomarkers that can distinguish, with high discriminatory power, ALS patients from healthy controls (98%), and from patients with neurological disorders that may resemble ALS (91%), between two levels of disease severity (90%), and a number of translational biomarkers, that link responses between human and animal model. We demonstrated that TDP-43, cyclophilin A and ERp57 associate with disease progression in a longitudinal study. Moreover, the protein profile changes detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of ALS patients are suggestive of possible intracellular pathogenic mechanisms such as endoplasmic reticulum stress, nitrative stress, disturbances in redox regulation and RNA processing.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results indicate that PBMC multiprotein biomarkers could contribute to determine amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis, differential diagnosis, disease severity and progression, and may help to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025545
PMCID: PMC3187793  PMID: 21998667
2.  The Molecular Assembly of Amyloid Aβ Controls Its Neurotoxicity and Binding to Cellular Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24909.
Accumulation of β-sheet-rich peptide (Aβ) is strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease, characterized by reduction in synapse density, structural alterations of dendritic spines, modification of synaptic protein expression, loss of long-term potentiation and neuronal cell death. Aβ species are potent neurotoxins, however the molecular mechanism responsible for Aβ toxicity is still unknown. Numerous mechanisms of toxicity were proposed, although there is no agreement about their relative importance in disease pathogenesis. Here, the toxicity of Aβ 1–40 and Aβ 1–42 monomers, oligomers or fibrils, was evaluated using the N2a cell line. A structure-function relationship between peptide aggregation state and toxic properties was established. Moreover, we demonstrated that Aβ toxic species cross the plasma membrane, accumulate in cells and bind to a variety of internal proteins, especially on the cytoskeleton and in the endoplasmatic reticulum (ER). Based on these data we suggest that numerous proteins act as Aβ receptors in N2a cells, triggering a multi factorial toxicity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024909
PMCID: PMC3179491  PMID: 21966382

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