Hello there!! This is Hazel-Ann and today I have a review of a published paper “Amino Acid Fingerprints Revealed in New Study” by Arizona State University. So it was a bright and sunny day and I decided to randomly browse the internet when BAM!!! I came upon the most interesting piece of science I have ever read! What I saw in this article augmented my knowledge in unexplainable ways. Yesss…I’m dead serious! So of course I couldn’t wait to share this new finding with you all.    

By now, the human genome project is no stranger to society. The human genome comprises three billion base pairs. Through the project, this code was decrypted effectively by 2003. This breakthrough in science has provided limitless insights and ideas pertaining to disease and the human health. If researchers can unlock the amino acid sequences from which protein is composed, scientists can have a better insight of diseases and the DNA. A group of researchers of Arizona State University led by Stuart Lindsay have embarked on an experiment to identify amino acids. Using state-of-the-art equipment, the team placed each amino acid between two electrodes and measured the current that went through each amino acid. Depending on this chain of current, which is characteristic of the amino acid, the scientists programmed a computer to identify each burst of electricity which indicated binding of an amino acid between the electrodes. Noise signals represented fingerprints and identified amino acids as well as modified variants. Currently, information on cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many other diseases are obtained from proteins. Protein sequencing will not only aid in patient treatment, but it will also be the means of advancement of molecularly examining the reaction of disease to therapeutics. Proteome is a huge amount of proteins.  Proteins are inevitably vital for growth, repair defense and catalysis. From the Human Genome Project, it was found that only 1.5% of genome codes for proteins. It is quite alarming that the human contains such a low gene number. But this can be accounted for by the modification of proteins generated from the DNA blueprint. It has been found that these proteins can alter their functions or become inoperable and this is detrimental to human health. This modification of proteins is caused by either alternative splicing (when exons are spliced and introns are cut off before translating into proteins) or post-translational modification (when markers like methylation and phosphorylation are added after production of proteins). Numerous cancers are linked with these modified protein faults. This makes for useful diagnostic indications. Once these proteins are identified, there will be a great revolution in Biomedicine. This led scientists to use the recognition tunneling method (used to determine the presence of particular nucleotide bases) for identifying the twenty amino acids in proteins instead of the four bases in DNA. This method has identified proteins that have been modified post transitionally from their unmodified precursor. As well as to distinguish between enantiomers and isobaric molecules (mirror image molecules). Lindsay states that many more researches and experiments are being executed for rapid progression of creating an amino acid fingerprints. This idea has solely been derived from the accomplishment of the human genome project. The hi-tech equipment are available for making this leap in Biochemistry and Biomedicine a successful one. Once the amino acid fingerprints are achieved, they can be applied to diagnostic medicine and can lead to a new era of research and findings for the cures of various diseases. The potentials of this project is limitless! So that’s it folks! Interesting, huh?? Can you imagine how easy it will be to diagnose diseases by knowing the amino acid sequence? What about using the fingerprints to find cures for various cancers? A new era of science dawns…




Arizona State University. 2014. “Amino acid fingerprints revealed in new study.”                                                  (accessed April 8, 2014).


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