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Alzate O, editor. Neuroproteomics. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press; 2010.

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Neuroproteomics is gaining momentum. The use of proteomics to elucidate brain phenomena is a natural result of the human’s interest in his “thinking organ” and the ever-increasing number of modern techniques for the systematic analysis of proteins and protein interaction networks. Moreover, it is in the brain that the protein interaction networks are at the center stage of the scientific inquiry, as their physico-chemical interactions result in phenomena such as learning, memory, logic interpretation and production of information, visualization, coordination of motion, body orientation, and many others. Neuroproteomics takes advantage of the advent of multiple techniques for isolation, identification, and characterization of large numbers of proteins, and the subsequent analysis of their localization, molecular interactions, and participation in regulatory and metabolic pathways.

Pursuing this broad aim, neuroproteomics uses multiple approaches such as mass spectrometry, electrophoresis, chromatography, surface plasmon resonance, protein arrays, immunoblotting, computational proteomics, and molecular imaging to help elucidate the roles of proteins in the different parts of the nervous system. And this is only the beginning. Many challenges wait ahead for neuroproteomics, including identification of these proteins and their corresponding localization, characterization of protein conformations and post-translational modifications, molecular interactions involving proteins and other molecules, identification of the regulatory and metabolic networks in which these proteins are involved, and ultimately the identification of potential methods to regulate the structures and functions of these protein interaction networks. Finally, neuroproteomics has to explain how this vast amount of protein data changes with time and with external conditions, giving origin to brain functions. This ultimate goal will permit great advances in the understanding of the brain, its functions, its structure, and how deviations from normal states lead to neurological and mental diseases.

This book is the result of several years of work using proteomics to understand biological processes in the nervous system. Proteomics studies large ensembles of proteins and requires many techniques aimed at understanding how proteins interact with each other and with other molecules within the ensemble, and how proteins function in the context of their respective environments and under specific conditions. Investigators using neuroproteomics need to start with very intricate sample preparation, and proceed to mass spectrometry, to HPLC, to 2D-DIGE, to protein arrays, or to protein interaction networks. They need to correlate this information with action potentials, electrical signals, and synaptic activity. Each of these approaches has its own strengths and limitations, and all are needed to achieve a reliable interpretation of neurobiological processes.

This volume provides an overview of what neuroproteomics is, and gives a few examples of what neuroproteomics does. The general idea was to present the principles, the approaches, the difficulties of each technique, and the challenges of the field. Some of the authors have laboratories dedicated to the investigation of neurobiological phenomena, and have integrated proteomics approaches to elucidate relevant biological functions of the nervous system. Other authors are experts in specific approaches that can be used for the study of neuroproteomics.

I would like to acknowledge the help that I received from all the authors. It has been a difficult task to put together all of the information required—in many cases, data were collected specifically for inclusion in this book. I want to extend special thanks to Sid Simon and Miguel Nicolelis for inviting me to undertake this project—it has been an enriching experience. I also want to thank Cristina Osorio for her help in contacting the authors, collecting all of the manuscripts, and for her personal support and assistance with this project, starting from the very beginning. Finally, I want to express my appreciation for the dedication and professionalism of the staff of Taylor & Francis, particularly Barbara Norwitz, Patricia Roberson, and Prudence Board. Thanks to each one of you.

Oscar Alzate, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2010 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Bookshelf ID: NBK56013
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